South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warned against wealthy countries bulk buying and hoarding coronavirus vaccine doses at the online Davos forum on Tuesday.
“Rich countries in the world are holding onto these vaccines, and we are saying, ‘release the excess vaccines that you’ve ordered and hoarded,” he said.
Some countries have been able to acquire up to four times the amount needed for their population while South Africa is trying to secure doses.
The country has yet to start its vaccination programme but Ramaphosa has said it has secured twenty million doses, which will be delivered in the first half of this year.
“We want vaccines as quickly as other countries do, that have already started (vaccinating),” Ramaphosa told the 2021 World Economic Forum.
“Because we are all not safe, if some countries are vaccinating their people and other countries are not vaccinating. We all must act together in combating coronavirus, because it affects all of us equally.”
South Africa has the most cases on the continent and is battling a new more contagious virus strain.
The country has reported over 1.4 million cases and more than 40,000 deaths.
South Africa imposed stricter coronavirus measures in December such as banning alcohol sales and making mask-wearing mandatory.
Ramaphosa also highlighted the importance of the African free trade agreement.
“This free trade area is going to open the door for trading, for African producers and manufacturers,” he said.
“But the other advantage is going to be in boosting manufacturing, in boosting industrialisation, because all of a sudden, a market will have been opened and manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and industrialists will now know that we now have a market.”