The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has announced that African countries have been granted approval to produce Covid-19 vaccines for the next five years.
She noted that it was inappropriate that 99% of vaccinations used in Africa are imported.
As a result, the WTO, after engagement with other countries, has granted African countries permission to produce their own vaccines without worrying about being accused of patent infringement.
“We were also able at this ministerial to have an agreement to introduce more flexibilities, a waiver on the patent of vaccines so that African countries and other countries can manufacture their vaccines.
It is not proper that we import 99% of the vaccines we use in the continent and 90% are other pharmaceuticals,” she stated.
Dr Ngozi made this known during a meeting with Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond.
She emphasised that the responsibilities of the WTO include protecting the laws and regulations that control international trade and improving people’s lives.
The WTO boss urged governments to expedite the ratification of a contract to ban dangerous fishing compounds worth $22 million that have an impact on the country’s fisheries industry.
Mr Hammond, on his part, called for increased capacity so that undeveloped countries could actively engage in WTO discussions and gain from the Multilateral Trading System (MTS). He also proposed the restoration of a fully operational two-tier dispute settlement structure, namely Panels and the Appellate Body, to provide the MTS with the necessary predictability and assurance.
Furthermore, he called for increased transparency in government trade policies, particularly with regard to export bans and limitations as seen during the height of the COVID-19 issue.
Source: The Independent Ghana