Monday, 07 June 2021

Pretoria: The G7 Leaders Summit will provide an opportunity for South Africa to seek broader support for the temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who will be travelling to the United Kingdom to attend the G7 Leaders Summit later this week. South Africa has been invited as a guest country, together with South Korea, Australia and India.

“The G7 Leaders Summit is an opportunity to seek broader support for the struggle we are waging alongside India and more than 100 other countries to achieve a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement at the WTO to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This will enable countries to manufacture their own vaccines and pave the way for the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in our own country and on the continent,” the President said on Monday in his newsletter.

The President said he will share a message of hope about the prospects of the country’s recovery to the delegates at summit.

“I will be presenting the clear signals that our country is emerging from the devastation wrought by the pandemic. These signals include a strengthening currency, a record trade surplus, and growth in mining, financial services and manufacturing,” President Ramaphosa said.

Delegates will be informed about the life changing opportunities being provided through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, which has directly benefited nearly 700 000 people since it was launched eight months ago.

“We can reflect that there is progress towards greater policy and regulatory certainty in important economic sectors such as energy and telecommunications. Our delegation to the G7 Summit will be able to talk about the progress we are making in overcoming the pandemic and the measures we have taken towards our national recovery that are slowly but steadily yielding results,” the President said.

The summit is expected to discuss how to promote future prosperity through free and fair trade, championing shared values and tackling climate change, but the global recovery from COVID-19 is likely to dominate the agenda.

The President acknowledged that citizens may be frustrated by the slow pace of change, and feel that the country’s problems appear to be intractable.

“Our high rate of unemployment, for example, has not improved since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago and was made much worse by the pandemic. But sometimes we are so absorbed by our shortcomings that we often fail to acknowledge what we are doing right and where things are improving,” the President said.

He noted the progress that the country is making in resolving challenges, from corruption to energy shortages to the obstacles that discourage investment.

“The pace of reform is picking up. We do not take the patience and resilience of the South African people for granted. We acknowledge our shortcomings as a government and are working to remedy them. Optimism is the foundation of progress and hope is the companion of development. Cynical though some among us may be, let the progress we are making in overcoming the immediate crisis motivate us to do even better,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa said the country’s democracy was founded in hope where there seemingly was none.

“We emerged from a desperate situation that threatened to engulf us and built a new nation. Over the last year and a half, we rallied together to fight the pandemic, united in the belief that better days would come.

“Throughout the course of our history we have had setbacks and false starts. But our resilient nature allowed us to weather many storms. It is this drive and determination that must continue to propel us forward as our country recovers socially, politically and economically.

“Let us look ahead and move forward. Let us nurture the green shoots of progress. Let us not only hope for better days, but let us work even harder to achieve them.” the President said.