PUBLICIDAD

Marruecos

Morocco plays a leading role in "health diplomacy" in Africa

After announcing the development of five million vaccines, Morocco is setting itself up as an African partner that aspires to become a world reference in health cooperation
marruecos-vacunas-covid

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   Over the past few days, King Mohammed VI has overseen the signing of three agreements with the Asian pharmaceutical company to produce five million doses of vaccines through an investment of 500 million dollars

In its race to lead vaccine production in Africa, Morocco has been working since August 2020 with the Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm through a multifactorial agreement. Initially, the aim of this pact was to carry out clinical trials of the vaccine on Moroccan territory, as well as to promote technology transfer between the two countries and join forces to create a vaccine manufacturing plant. Now, however, Morocco has gone a step further to produce vaccines of the Asian brand on its territory in order to strengthen its international presence in this field.

In this regard, King Mohammed VI has overseen the signing of three agreements with the Asian pharmaceutical company over the past few days to produce five million doses of vaccines through an investment of 500 million dollars. The disbursement responds to Morocco's strategy to promote "self-sufficiency and health sovereignty for Morocco".

vacunas-sinopharm-covid
REUTERS/TINGSHU WANG - Morocco has been working since August 2020 with the Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm through a multi-factor agreement.

Furthermore, with this project, the Alawi kingdom aims to become a leading country in biotechnology both on a continental and international level and to have the capacity to provide African countries with coronavirus vaccines. This strategy falls within the framework of what is already known as "health diplomacy", a type of cooperation in which the aim is to provide health assistance to other countries to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this context, Morocco's investment in vaccines allows the Kingdom to deepen its relations with other countries on the continent, especially in the Sahel and West Africa. Faced with this situation, the Moroccan Prime Minister, Nasser Bourita, said that "the world chose diplomacy to find solutions to the challenges of the epidemic", and that, however, "we now find ourselves in the midst of a world that is more unequal than ever".

vacunas-marruecos-plan-covid
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Nasser Bourita, Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

At a ministerial conference, Bourita explained that Morocco "decided to draw lessons from the pandemic by launching a project for the local manufacture of coronavirus vaccines, as well as other types for the benefit of Morocco and other African countries". The official launch of the project followed the signing of two other agreements on vaccine cooperation. Thus, a memorandum of understanding on the preparation of vaccination capacities in Morocco has been created with Recipharm, in addition to the signing of another contract with the Moroccan firm Sutima for the manufacture of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharma.

According to the head of the Moroccan network for the defence of the right to health and life, Ali Lotfi, "the timely delivery and presentation of vaccines will be necessary to assist African countries, especially with the prolongation of the pandemic, the restrictions necessary to contain it and the human and economic suffering that accompanies it". On the other hand, Bourita noted that in a situation where vaccination and access to vaccination should have been equal and equitable, "some countries received more vaccines than the entire African continent". He lamented that the vaccination plan in the southern hemisphere "is not recognised in the northern countries".

filas-vacunacion-covid
AFP/ ANNIE RISEMBERG - People queue to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at Point G Hospital in Bamako on March 31, 2021, on the first day of Mali's vaccination programme.

In this regard, Bourita points out that Morocco's vaccine production plan "not only guarantees the country's health sovereignty, but also favours the export of vaccines to other African countries", thus reinforcing its role as a provider of health security on the continent.

In this way, Morocco continues to work towards achieving public benefits at the international level through the health security system. In addition, Bourita places the Non-Aligned Movement, the forum for political consultation for the countries of the South, in a pivotal position in this situation to address these global health challenges, as it will not only serve to confront new threats that have emerged in the pandemic but will also "respond to old challenges centred on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Libyan crisis". In this regard, the minister stressed that "the Non-Aligned Movement, based on the values of international solidarity and justice that were behind its establishment, has a special characteristic that makes it a catalyst for reforming the global system in the post-COVID-19 era".

vacunacion-covid-marruecos-africa
AP/SABER ZIDI - A soldier administers COVID-19 vaccine to a woman in Kesra, 130 kilometres south of Tunis, Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Since Morocco began its vaccination campaign last January, more than 12% of the population has been vaccinated with the two doses, making it the African country that has administered the most doses on the continent. Thus, Morocco has managed to overtake countries such as Egypt, Algeria and South Africa in this health race. Morocco has also sent urgent aid to Tunisia in recent days after the country reached dramatic figures in terms of hospital occupancy and the cumulative incidence of infections among the Tunisian population.

In this regard, Morocco has sent medical assistance to Tunisia in the form of a medical package comprising 100 hospital beds, 100 respirators and 2 oxygen generators, with the aim of helping the country to deal with the worrying social and health situation it is going through.