The French government has formed an alliance with the African Union under which member states of the African Union will receive an extra 10 million doses of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccines over the next three months.
The Africa Vaccination Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the COVAX global vaccine programme will be in charge of allocating and distributing the vaccines.
The AVAT program was established as a pooled procurement method to allow African Union Member States to purchase enough vaccinations to cover half their needs. The program collaborates with the COVAX initiative, which aims to raise the remaining 50% through donations.
AVAT is managed by the alliance of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as well as the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which also provides funding for the acquisition of vaccines on the behalf of the African Union Member States.
Also, with the help of an innovative collaboration with the World Bank, AVAT has already obtained enough vaccinations for African countries to vaccinate 400 million people, or one-third of the continent's population, by September next year, at the cost of $3 billion.
Commenting on the alliance, French President, Emmanual Macron said that the pandemic could only be resolved with strong cooperation between regional, multilateral, and national actors. With this solid partnership with the African Union, the French will donate 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines to the African Union.
President Macron has been a strong advocate for Africa's need for equal access to vaccines ever since the pandemic began. He was the first leader to embrace and appreciate the hard work of African Union Member States to establish institutions like AVAT.
The French President has met with African Union leaders on various occasions and has also visited South Africa, where French development organization Proparco assists in expanding Africa's largest vaccine manufacturing facility.