Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:
I first want to thank the Co-Chairs, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the Right Honourable Helen Clark, for convening this roundtable.
I can only commend the excellent work of the Independent Panel. We look forward to your final report later this month.
The world did indeed mobilise in important ways, to respond to Covid-19. Alongside protectionism, there were also examples of solidarity.
But it was not enough, given the speed and severity of the disease.
The Pandemic Preparedness Treaty is on the table, but it will take time to negotiate, and even longer to come into force.
We need bold action, right away.
First, the only way to ensure vaccine equity is to produce more vaccines, where they are needed.
Rwanda is working with partners to bring the first mRNA manufacturing facility to Africa.
So long as Africa remains dependent on other regions for vaccines, we will always be at the back of the queue, whenever there is scarcity.
Second, pandemic preparedness is also about prevention, and that requires a greater focus on ecology and climate change.
If we understand why infectious pathogens are increasingly jumping from animals to humans, we can marshal global action to reduce that risk.
Third, there is no substitute for effective national health systems.
We have seen this, yet again, in the difficulties some countries have faced in distributing the vaccines they have received.
Governments need to spend more, and to spend more strategically, on public health and primary healthcare.
In conclusion, we look forward to supporting the Independent Panel’s recommendations when the final report is released.
Thank you for your kind attention.