The President of South Africa, Cyrill Ramaphosa and his counterpart in Senegal, President Macky Sall have condemned the travel ban placed on some African countries as another travel apartheid saying it is unjust, and pathetic.
The duo made this known at the ongoing Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa holding at the International Conference Centre, Dakar, Senegal.
Tagged: ‘The challenges of Stability and Emergence Facing Africa in a Post-Covid-19 World’, the event brought together African Heads of States, diplomats, industry players, civil society groups, among others.
The event which has 11 sessions bothers on Post Covid-19 stability issues; Security challenges and new threats;
The African continent and the world in the post-Covid-19 phase; Public health challenges: towards the collective management of pandemics; consolidating peace and security in Africa to promote emergence, among others.
According to Ramphafosa, “when the scientists in South Africa discovered the new Covid-19 variants- Omicron, we immediately alerted the world but the punishment we got was a travel ban.”
He noted that Omicron is affecting the world, even developed countries, and pointed out that “lifting the travel ban is a critical route to economic recovery across the world. The devastating impact of the travel ban is travel apartheid as enunciated by the United Nation Secretary General.”
“It will be devastating to the economy of most Southern African and other regions in Africa whose economy depends largely on tourism and is also against the G20 Summit where world leaders agree to open their economy”, he said.
He called for the review of the intellectual right by world powers for African countries to be able to manufacture vaccines.
On his part, President Sall reiterated that the placement of travel ban because of Omicron is discrimination and we it won’t be accepted.
He said, “the World Health Organisation (WHO) has made it clear, isolating a country that has sequenced a new variant and has been transparent is not only discriminatory, but also counterproductive, because it encourages others not to publish the results of their investigations.
“This pandemic, which is affecting all our countries, must bring us together on the solidarity front of the response, instead of adding a new divide to North-South relations”.
He noted that access to vaccines for all and their production in Africa remain a major priority.
“I welcome the efforts made at the bilateral level and in the framework of the COVAX initiative. But much more needs to be done to reach our immunization targets” he said
He lauded the effort of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is leading the committed continental response to COVID.
He stated further that bringing together, reflecting and proposing solutions, that is the spirit of the Dakar Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.
On his part, the Chairman of the European Union (EU) , Charles Micheal renewed the commitment of the EU in African inclusive development.
He reminded the participants of the EU’s effort at mobilizing vaccines to African countries and noted that donation of the vaccine is between national interest and big corporations.
Micheal agreed that “we have made some flaws but we are forging a sustainable relationship that takes into cognisance of our differences.”