President Nana Akufo-Addo (m) with other ECOWAS Heads of State

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is also the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has underscored the need for the countries in the sub-region to manufacture their own COVID-19 vaccines.

Acknowledging the effort being made by some countries in the region to produce the vaccine, President Akufo-Addo said “We need, as a community, to contribute to the global discourse on access and availability of vaccines for all the peoples of the world”.

The President made the call during the opening session of the 59th ECOWAS summit in Accra on Saturday.

He stressed that, “Through the COVAX initiative, all the countries in the Region have taken delivery of some vaccines, supplemented by direct procurement by some Member States. I thank foreign friends of the Community who have contributed to funding the initiative. We note, however, that the quantities received are woefully insufficient. We must, thus, continue to work on the purchase and production of vaccines in our Region. We have to encourage Members of our Community, Nigeria, Senegal, and my own country, Ghana, which are making the effort to produce their own vaccines. We cannot afford to be naked the next”.

The ECOWAS chairman pointed out that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on economies in the sub-region, hence the need for close collaboration among member states to address the concern.

“The recent decision of the G7 to provide more vaccines to developing countries is commendable, just as is its decision on the taxation of multinational companies.

“It is a first step towards addressing the illicit flow of funds, in which these multi-national companies play a major part, and which lead to the huge exodus of resources from our Continent. There is still more to be done”, he stated. 

Resilient economies

President Akufo-Addo also urged countries in the sub-region to work hard to achieve strong economic growth, based on the construction of resilient economies.

“Let us continue to focus on the implementation of programmes and projects, in all areas of national life, to ensure job creation and the well-being of our peoples”, he urged.

This, President Akufo-Addo noted, required strengthening of regional integration by pursuing the free movement of goods and people, and the development of the economic infrastructure and human capital bases.

“In this regard, the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), on 1st January 2021, offers us a historic opportunity to enhance our levels of intra-regional trade, and inspire the momentum for rapid economic growth. We have to rise to the occasion, and change our destiny”, he explained.

President Akufo-Addo added that work on the community’s single currency must also continue.

“According to our programme, the new convergence pact and the new roadmap for its implementation will be submitted for adoption during this Summit”, President Akufo-Addo indicated.