India working with South Africa to address COVID-19 vaccines' accessibility challenges

·3-min read
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

New Delhi [India], May 19 (ANI): India has supplied medicines, vaccines and health-related equipment to Africa as it faces the coronavirus pandemic and is also working in partnership with South Africa to address the challenges of accessibility and affordability of COVID vaccines, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday.

At a UNSC Open Debate, Jaishankar said India will support peace and security in Africa, help address root causes of conflict and be a reliable partner in fighting the pandemic.

He was making remarks at a debate on 'Peace and Security in Africa: addressing root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa'.

"We support peacebuilding in Africa, establishing capabilities and capacities that help meet challenges while also ensuring progress. Most of all, we understand and empathise with the aspirations of Africa. That is why, India will support peace and security there, help address root causes of conflict and be a reliable partner in fighting the pandemic," he said.

The minister said that India and Africa's strong and deep solidarity reflects the bonding of the Global South, adding that the close collaboration between the two is expressed through the India-Africa Forum Summit, as also in the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.

"Like the rest of the world, Africa too is being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its vulnerabilities are greater and in many respects, its capabilities still in the making," he said.

Asserting that the world must stand up with Africa, Jaishankar said: "On its part, India has done so, by supplying medicines, vaccines and health-related equipment. We are also working in partnership with South Africa to address the challenges of accessibility and affordability of vaccines."

Beyond the pandemic, Jaishankar voiced that Africa's recovery will be facilitated by partnerships that genuinely address its economic sustainability.

Jaishankar explained that India's approach towards Africa was spelt out by the Kampala Principles enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.

"In effect, India will respond to the priorities of Africa, as defined by Africans themselves. Our support is without conditionalities and in line with African expectations. This is visible in our 189 projects in 41 African countries being implemented under concessional loans. It is expressed in our providing medicines, health equipment, ambulances, books, vehicles and food grains," he said.

"Or indeed in the vocational training and IT centres set up in Africa, in the 43,000 education and training slots over the last five years, or the digital education and health programmes with 17 African partners. Our trade and technology exchanges are steadily growing, in line with closer political and people-to-people ties," he added.

During the debate, India expressed support to Africa through peacekeeping presence in South Sudan, Somalia, Abeyi, Western Sahara and Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Like the rest of the world, Africa too faces challenges of terrorism and instability. It is a reminder to this Council why epicentres of radicalisation must not be allowed to operate with impunity," he said.

Jaishankar said that India's support to Africa is expressed through the peacekeeping presence in South Sudan, Somalia, Abeyi, Western Sahara and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bilaterally, Jaishankar said that India has partnered in the establishment of defence institutions in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

"Our training teams have been deployed in Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Lesotho, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania. When HADR situations have arisen, such as in Mozambique in 2019, India has been there for Africa," he said.

"Our support is without conditionalities and in line with African expectations. This is visible in our 189 projects in 41 African countries being implemented under concessional loans," he added. (ANI)

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