No recovery while just 6.8% of the population is vaccinated

Africa’s vaccine autonomy is an immediate priority, with less than 10% of African countries projected to hit key COVID-19 vaccination goals by the end of 2021.

While more than 7.6 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, Africa accounts for just 2.9% of these.

Recovery will only be achieved, at health or economic levels, with a significant increase in vaccination rates.

Securing Africa’s health sovereignty is imperative

The pandemic has exposed Africa’s still fragile health capacities and excessive dependence on external supply.

Increasing vaccine development and manufacturing capacities on the continent will not only bring health and social benefits, it will also create business opportunities and local employment. Significant barriers to Africa's health sovereignty remain:

  • no sound health policy without sound data
  • healthcare is neither affordable nor accessible for most Africans
  • most countries remain unprepared for any future pandemics.

Recent social gains threatened by COVID-19 impact

By 2040, Africa will have the largest potential workforce in the world, with a working age population of 1.1 billion. Providing this workforce with relevant education, training and employment prospects is essential. Young people without prospects are a potential recipe for unrest.

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, being out of school means being out of learning.
  • Women and girls bear the brunt of COVID-19’s economic and social impact.
  • Restrictions have added further strain to participatory and civic spaces.

Potential for economic recovery provided hurdles are overcome

Despite significant challenges, there are grounds for optimism. Discussions at the 2021 Ibrahim Forum led unanimously to the conclusion that the current crisis also offers an opportunity to ‘build back better’. But this transformative recovery can only be achieved if key hurdles are overcome. Current economic growth models, overly dependent on external supply and demand, must be amended.

However, there can be:

  • no social recovery without wider social safety nets
  • no economic transformation without energy access
  • no digital economy without fixing the digital divide
  • no integrated economy without adequate intra-continental transport networks.