On 22 September 2021, US President Joe Biden hosted a Global COVID-19 Summit on the side-lines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, bringing together leaders in government, business, and philanthropy to commit to an equitable pandemic response and to building a stronger global pandemic preparedness architecture.
Speaking at the event, Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation urged leaders to invest in Africa’s vaccine security, saying that Africa already has the experience, expertise, and robust plans required to address the pandemic but requires support. Ms. Roy called on leaders to focus on building Africa’s medical manufacturing capacity as part of a strategy for preparing for the next biological threat.
Earlier this year, the Mastercard Foundation announced that it would deploy $1.3 billion in partnership with the Africa CDC to address vaccine inequity under a joint initiative dubbed Saving Lives and Livelihoods. As part of the initiative, the Foundation committed to enabling continental vaccine manufacturing by investing in the skills and knowledge required to drive manufacturing.
The African Union and Africa CDC have set a goal of ensuring that Africa is able to meet 60% of its vaccine demand through domestic production by 2040. In July, the Africa Union convened an inaugural meeting of the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing—a pan-African platform dedicated to driving this agenda.