ZIMBABWE is ready to export Covid-19 protective gear after two local institutions received funding from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to manufacture them for the benefit of the wider regional market.
The Covid-19 situation was topical at the extraordinary meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers in Maputo, Mozambique on Tuesday, where it emerged that several countries in the bloc were seeing an increase in the number of new infections.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Professor Amon Murwira introduced Zimbabwe to the conference, which preceded yesterday the Extraordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government.
Yesterday, in a post-conference update, Minister Murwira said the Council of Ministers had deliberated on how to strengthen collaboration within the region and international partners to increase vaccine procurement and deployment.
This, including improving the distribution and access to protective equipment, is essential if Africa is to reach the target of 60 percent of the population vaccinated by 2022.
“Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, I am happy to note that the Harare Institute of Technology and the Sands are two of the Zimbabwean institutions that receive funding through SADC for the manufacture of protective equipment,” Professor Murwira said without disclosing the figures.
“We are ready to export these products to the region and we are showcasing them on our exhibition stand at the SADC Business Forum.”
The meeting also underlined the importance of intensifying research on the use of African traditional medicines as well as the call for the lifting of trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organization to enable the manufacture. vaccines in the region, he said. .
Professor Murwira also said that the regional ministers reviewed progress in the implementation of decisions of previous meetings regarding the Regional Indicative Strategic Plan 2020-2030, the operationalization of the SADC Center for Renewable Energy and Efficiency. energy, the operationalization of the SADC Humanitarian Coordination and Emergency Response Center and the food security situation. The ongoing fight against HIV and AIDS in the region as well as gender and development issues have also been at the center of attention.
“We further noted progress in programming the EU multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and measures to strengthen SADC cooperation with the EU,” said the minister.
He also said ministers were briefed on progress in recruiting the next SADC Executive Secretary as the incumbent, with Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax’s second term ending August 31, 2021.
âTwo candidates from Botswana and DRC were interviewed for the post on June 10, 2021 and a full report and recommendations will be submitted to our next meeting and then to the summit of heads of state and government in August 2021,â a declared Professor Murwira.