Visiting South Africa, France’s Macron pledges vaccine help

May 28, 2021, 10:21 AM | Updated: 1:49 pm
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa participate Fri...

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa participate Friday May 28, 2021 at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in the launching of a program to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — On a visit to South Africa, French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed that his country will provide millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to help African countries speed up their inoculation drives.

Macron pledged that France will help South Africa and other African countries to develop the capacity to produce their own vaccines to fight the pandemic.

Macron met President Cyril Ramaphosa in the capital, Pretoria, on Friday and said he supports lifting the barriers preventing Africa from producing its own vaccines, but he said the immediate priority is to increase the supply of vaccines to Africa.

“Trying to lift the hurdles in order to allow vaccine production in South Africa and all of Africa, we are in favor of that,” said Macron at a press conference with Ramaphosa.

“But what is the problem we are trying to overcome? What we need to do is vaccinate as soon as possible, as many people as possible. It is a matter of duty and solidarity,” he said.

“The more time it takes, the more the virus is likely to mutate and to come back,” Macron said, adding that richer countries should provide any excess doses they have to poorer countries as quickly as possible. He pledged that France will donate more than 30 million vaccine doses by the end of the year to the U.N.-backed COVAX global vaccine initiative.

South African’s mass vaccination campaign has begun slowly, with only 761,903 people vaccinated so far from a target of inoculating about 40 million people by February next year. The government is working to speed up vaccinations as experts warn of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 ahead of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter which starts in June.

Vaccinations have been slow across the African continent. So far just 28 million doses of vaccines have been administered in Africa, representing less than 2% of the continent’s population of 1.4 billion. Worldwide more than 1.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered,

Macron also announced that France is prepared to assist neighboring Mozambique to battle an extremist insurgency in its north that has displaced more than 700,000 people.

French companies have significant investments in Mozambique, notably the $20 billion investment in a liquified natural gas project by French energy company Total, which was halted in March as a result of the extremist violence in the Cabo Delgado province.

“We are well aware that Mozambique is currently dealing with jihadi groups which are threatening the security of the region, particularly in Cabo Delgado. We are of course monitoring the situation with a great deal of concern,” said Macron.

“We are available to help but within the context of a political solution which should firstly be requested by Mozambique, but secondly be structured by the Southern African Development Community,” said Macron, referring to the 16-nation regional bloc of which both South Africa and Mozambique are members.

He said France is ready to provide military resources required by Mozambique and the regional group.

Ramaphosa said the regional body “stands at the ready to assist Mozambique to ward off these insurgents and to ensure that we return and restore peace and stability in Mozambique.”

On Thursday, leaders of the Southern African Development Community met for a summit in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, over the crisis. The leaders delayed making a final decision on sending regional troops to Mozambique.

Macron’s state visit to South Africa comes a day after he visited Rwanda where he said he recognized that France bears a heavy responsibility for the 1994 genocide in that country that killed an estimated 800,000 victims.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron and Ramaphosa are launching a program su support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, center right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron talk during a welcoming ceremony at the government's Union Buildings, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              French President Emmanuel Macron reviews the honour guard during a welcoming ceremony at the government's Union Buildings, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, center right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron talk during a welcoming ceremony at the government's Union Buildings, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron arrive a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron attend a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron walk during a welcoming ceremony at the government's Union Buildings, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron speak during a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron speak during a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron speak during a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron attend a press conference at the government's Union Building, in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, May 28, 2021. Macron is on a two-day official visit to the country. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)
            
              French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021. Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are launching a program to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
            
              French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021. Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are launching a program to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
            
              French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are launching a program to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
            
              French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021.  Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are launching a program to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
            
              French President Emmanuel Macron listens to speeches at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday May 28, 2021. Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are launching a program su support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
            
              French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa participate Friday May 28, 2021 at the University of Pretoria Future Africa in the launching of a program to support African vaccine production, a project backed by the European Union, the United States and the World Bank. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

AP

Associated Press

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing bids farewell to an icon on Tuesday: It’s delivering its final 747 jumbo jet. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA’s space shuttles, and the Air Force One […]
23 hours ago
FILE - A worker loads boxes of goods from a truck outside a wholesale clothing mall in Beijing on T...
Associated Press

Chinese factory activity rebounds, adding to recovery signs

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese factory activity rebounded in January from three months of contraction, adding to signs the world’s second-largest economy might be recovering from a painful slump, an official survey showed Tuesday. A monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group rose to 50.1 on a 100-point scale […]
23 hours ago
Visitors try out Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Book2 at its shop in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan....
Associated Press

Samsung’s profit plummets amid global economic woes

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics said Tuesday its profit for the last quarter plummeted nearly 70% as a weak global economy depressed demand for its consumer electronics products and computer memory chips. The company’s operating profit of 4.3 trillion won ($3.5 billion) for the three months through December fell 69% from a year […]
23 hours ago
A trishaw driver wades through a crowded street at the frozen Houhai Lake in Beijing, Monday, Jan. ...
Associated Press

IMF upgrades outlook for the global economy in 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — The outlook for the global economy is growing slightly brighter as China eases its zero-COVID policies and the world shows surprising resilience in the face of high inflation, elevated interest rates and Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine. That’s the view of the International Monetary Fund, which now expects the world economy to […]
23 hours ago
Joe Garner, a truck driver and shop steward for the local 315 of the International Brotherhood of T...
Associated Press

Self-driving semis focus of California rules, legislation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — As California regulators explore new rules to put self-driving semitrucks on the road, labor unions are rushing to the state Legislature to ask for a new law they say will protect their jobs — the start of a debate that could shape the future of the nation’s nearly $900 billion trucking […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaks during a news conference at the HH...
Associated Press

Feds expect to collect $4.7B in insurance fraud penalties

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration estimated Monday that it could collect as much as $4.7 billion from insurance companies with newer and tougher penalties for submitting improper charges on the taxpayers’ tab for Medicare Advantage care. Federal watchdogs have been sounding the alarm for years about questionable charges on the government’s private version of […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Visiting South Africa, France’s Macron pledges vaccine help