I am pleased to join you for this Global Health Summit, happening when the Covid pandemic has all of us preoccupied by the health of our people and the well-being of our economies. This challenge also presents an opportunity to do things better and differently.

First, we have to urgently improve the frameworks and tools needed to defeat this pandemic and others that are sure to follow.

Ending Covid-19 will require expanded pathways to vaccine access for populations throughout the world.

The Covax facility along with the African Union Vaccine Acquisition Task Team and the Africa CDC have helped to distribute millions of vaccine doses to our continent. But much more is needed for Africa to defeat the pandemic.

In the context of developing hubs for manufacturing the vaccines in our continent, Rwanda is in advanced talks with private firms and multilateral agencies to build manufacturing capacity in our region for the raw materials to produce mRNA vaccines.

I thank the European Union institutions for the strong commitment we have seen to working with Rwanda and Africa on this priority.

I also thank President Ursula von der Leyen for your efforts to connect us with the right technical partners.

On the issue of intellectual property and discussions around this, I hope soon we could find an appropriate solution to that. Much more important, is technology transfer, cooperation on regulatory quality, and training of African engineers and scientists.

Within the African Union, we are also working to establish the African Medicines Agency (AMA), so that there are shared standards among our national regulators.

The devastating impact of the Covid pandemic has demonstrated the indispensability of resilient national health systems built around Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

We appreciate the European Union’s leadership on the need for a new Pandemic Preparedness Treaty, which was first proposed by President Charles Michel. We welcome the expected launch of the negotiation process at the upcoming World Health Assembly.

Closely related to this is the imperative to increase domestic health financing, which is a priority for the African Union, with African Union Development Agency-NEPAD providing technical advice.

The Rome Declaration, to be signed at this summit, comprehensively covers the key priorities. Through AUDA-NEPAD, we look forward to working with all of you, our partners — including the World Health Organisation, Gavi, CEPI, and UNICEF — to improve health outcomes and save lives on our continent.

I thank you for your kind attention.