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Over $1 bn to be pledged for Africa vaccine sovereignty: France

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Paris: More than one billion dollars will be pledged towards ramping up vaccine production in Africa at a summit held in Paris later this week, France said on Monday.A "new mechanism to accelerate the financing of vaccine production on the African continent" will be launched during the summit on Thursday, which will be attended by several African leaders, together with the heads of the World Health Organization and the Gavi vaccine alliance, the French president's office said.

The amount committed by donors -- which include the European Commission, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea and the United States -- "will exceed a billion dollars", the presidential Elysee Palace said.Around three quarters of this sum will come from Europe, it added.The goal is to boost the ability of manufacturers in Africa to produce their own vaccines, giving the continent more sovereignty to address the many health crises it faces.The money will also go towards setting up an African medicines agency similar to the European Medicines Agency, the French presidency said.

The Covid-19 pandemic shone a light on the unequal global distribution of vaccines. The wealthy nations where most big pharmaceutical firms are based hoarded the majority of doses, while Africa was left well behind.Switzerland, for example, destroyed more Covid vaccine doses than it ever administered.Several areas in Africa are currently enduring cholera outbreaks -- as well as shortages of vaccine doses."Specific announcements will be made during this forum to respond to this vaccine shortage," the French presidency said.

Malaria will also be discussed at the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation on Thursday, it added.Gavi, one of the leaders behind the Covax global programme which distributed Covid jabs to poorer countries, is hoping donors at the summit provide funding for its vaccination projects from 2026 to 2030.French President Emmanuel Macron will welcome several leaders of African nations including those of Botswana, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal, the Elysee Palace said.Macron will also meet African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat to talk about "the crises that are still shaking the continent", particularly in Sudan and the African Great Lakes region, it added.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to speak at the summit via videoconference. Subscribe to our newsletter to get latest insights & analysis.