AFRICAN leaders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth $700m at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) for Africa to support immunisation and investment in the health sector across the continent. Called to address Africa’s socio-economic development, the summit, lasting over three days, started on Wednesday and is being attended by over 10 heads of state and government as well as over 900 delegates from 70 countries.
Among those present include the presidents of Algeria, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo.
Former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and former President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, are also in Abuja, as well as over 50 chief executives of big global corporations. Yesterday, the leaders signed up to an immunisation programme aimed at eradicating preventable diseases across the continent.
Donald Kaberuka, the president of the African Development Bank, said the money would help co-finance the purchase of vaccines by Gavi Alliance and the bank between 2016 and 2020.
Tagged Immunise Africa 2020 Leaders, the programme will support the Gavi Alliance public-private partnership, committed to saving childrenâ€™s lives and protecting peopleâ€™s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.
Mr Kaberuka added: â€œThe investments countries are making with vaccines today will reap enormous benefits in the short and long term. With commitment to immunisation, African leaders are taking a bold step towards securing their countriesâ€™ prosperity and economic security.â€
He explained that the amount was an addition to the billions of dollars African countries had already spent on health services. Mr Kaberuka said that strong progress was being made on improving the health of people across Africa and urged Gavi Alliance and its partners to do more to help continue the decline in child death rates on the continent.
Ghanaian president John Mahama, said: â€œImmunisation is one of the most important investments we are making in our children and in their future. We are committed to ensuring that vaccine programmes in Ghana will be sustainable, so that our children are fully protected from potentially fatal diseases.”
Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikete, added that immunisation was the smartest investment that African leaders could make in the health sector for the citizen and for the future of the nations.
“As leaders of this dynamic continent, we will ensure that our children have access to the best, most sustainable technologies to provide them with the best possible start in life,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, Africaâ€™s richest businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has urged foreign investors to invest in Nigeria because the business environment is very good.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, he added that positive government polices alongside a large population was an advantage to any investor.