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Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit Side Event on Pandemic Preparedness and Response

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Your Royal Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz,

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact on human health, on societies and on economies.

In the midst of the pandemic – even as we battle rising global infections – we must look towards an inclusive economic recovery, where no country is left behind.

It was at the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit in March this year that members committed to strengthening national, regional and global capacities to respond effectively to future pandemics.

As the African continent we are playing our part, including through the establishment of a COVID-19 Response Fund to mobilise resources for a continental response and to support recovery.

We also launched the African Medical Supplies Platform to ensure equitable access to medical equipment and supplies.

We have been involved in the formation of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, a global network to ensure access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for all those who need it.

We are pleased that there appears to be consensus in the G20 that access to an effective COVID-19 vaccine should be universal, fair and equitable.

A commitment by G20 leaders to invest substantially in the ACT-Accelerator’s immediate funding gap of $4.5 billion will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass provision of COVID-19 tools around the world, and provide a way out of this global economic and human crisis.

We look to the G20, international partners and the international financial institutions to work with African countries to rebuild their economies . 

The African Union has proposed several measures, including debt relief in the form of interest-payment waivers and deferred payments. 

To be adequately prepared for the future, we must invest in funding and research. 

We must bolster health infrastructure and health systems. 

We are encouraged by the continued commitment of the G20 to financing universal health coverage in developing countries.

We must accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to strengthen the capacity of all countries to better withstand the impact of future crises.

This must include practical measures to promote the economic inclusion of women, who are currently among the most vulnerable to such social and economic disruption.

This pandemic has demonstrated the interconnectedness of our world. 

It is only through cooperation and solidarity that we will ensure the future health and welfare of our global community.

I thank you.