• Excellency, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me first congratulate President Sisi and the Government of Egypt for convening the second edition of the Aswan Forum, despite the global situation.

This Forum, which was initiated under Egypt’s successful chairmanship of the African Union, exemplifies Egypt’s commitment to African integration.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “recovering stronger and building better” from the Covid-19 pandemic.

No topic is more urgent for Africa.

Let me offer a few thoughts on the way forward.

First, the pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of increasing domestic health financing on our continent.

National health systems have been the backbone of pandemic response on our continent.

As I highlighted in my last report to the African Union as the Champion for Domestic Health Financing, tools are available to help governments not only spend more, but spend better.

Second, Africa’s continental health institution, the Africa CDC, has proven its value during this pandemic.

It has helped secure and distribute test kits and protective equipment, collected epidemiological data, and supported the collective procurement of supplies and vaccines.

We must further strengthen Africa CDC to ensure its autonomy and effectiveness.

I also urge member states to sign and ratify the African Medicines Agency Treaty, so that it comes into force, as soon as possible.

Third, we must double down on implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area, as the key strategy for rebuilding better.

In that context, creating robust continental supply chains for pharmaceutical manufacturing is essential for Africa’s future health security.

Finally, Africa should speak with one voice on the importance of global vaccine equity, both now and in the future.

We very much look forward to attending the next edition of the Aswan Forum in person.

Once again, I thank President Sisi for the invitation to address you.

I wish you fruitful deliberations, and thank you for your attention.