• From the beginning, France and Germany sought a multilateral response to the global pandemic.
• We are among the founding members of ACT-A, the global multilateral response mechanism to Covid-19, and Covax its vaccine arm.
We are in year two of the Covid-19 pandemic. France and Germany work together at the heart of the EU’s effort to ensuring a fair, transparent and affordable access to Covid-19 vaccines, medicines and diagnostics around the globe and here in Kenya.
From the beginning, France and Germany sought a multilateral response to the global pandemic. We are among the founding members of ACT-A, the global multilateral response mechanism to Covid-19, and Covax its vaccine arm.
Together, we have provided more than Sh308 billion for Act-A and the international equitable distribution of vaccines. The global Covax vaccine distribution campaign started in February 2021 – just weeks after the first vaccinations against Covid- 19 began in our countries.
So far, Covax has supplied over 310 million doses of vaccine in 143 states and territories and is helping to vaccinate people worldwide – that is the only way to prevent the risk of constant new mutations of the virus.
It is important to point out that France, Germany and the EU never imposed export restrictions for vaccines. Indeed, more vaccines made in Europe have been exported than administered to our own people.
In parallel to our efforts to vaccinate our own populations, France and Germany worked on an equitable distribution of vaccines. We committed 220 million doses from our national stocks primarily to countries in transition and to developing countries, again to be distributed through Covax on a need basis. This multilateral approach is the only way to ensure fairness and efficiency in the distribution.
Of course, donations and financial support alone are not enough since demand not only in Kenya by far surpasses vaccine supply. We, France and Germany, want to trigger structural change. Here in Africa, France, Germany and the EU are actively working to expand production capacities for vaccines in close cooperation with WHO and Africa CDC recommendations, for example in Ghana, Senegal and South Africa.
It is also encouraging to see that the German company BioNtech, which invented one of the most effective Covid-Vaccines, is working to start production in South Africa and Rwanda.
France, Germany and the EU support Kenya’s fight against the pandemic in its immediate medical, but also social, economic and environmental consequences.
Germany so far has supplied additional funds of Sh5.4 billion for Kenya’s Covid response – more is planned.
Early in the crisis, Germany provided the first mobile Covid-19 testing labs for truck drivers who are crucial for the supply of goods, and more than 900.000 surgical masks in 2021.
The largest share of Germany’s additional Covid response funds, Sh2.25 billion, are destined to Kenyan medium- and small scale enterprises in both the formal and informal sector as grants and loans in order to weather the effects of the pandemic. Another example is Germany’s emergency support to conservancies in the Maasai Mara to cushion the effects of the tourism breakdown.
France, on the other hand, donated 180.000 doses of vaccines in June. Through its development bank, AFD, France has given a loan of €34 million specifically to reinforce the Ministry of Health in its procurement of assets needed for answering to the epidemic. French Treasury amplified a hospitals equipment project adding 17 million Euros to buy equipment needed for the care of Covid-19 patients.
France, Germany and the EU Commission are important donors to Global Fund against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Through its C19RM mechanism, Global Fund has been one of the main tool to fund Covid-19 activities and also mitigation strategies to allow health services to continue their normal work.
As usual, France and Germany are proud to work through Covax-Gavi and with the help of Unicef for the safe transportation and distribution of the vaccines.
We know that Kenya is committed to developing its vaccination strategy and we are happy to contribute to this unprecedented effort. France, Germany and the EU are facing up to our responsibility to provide vaccines and also find long term solutions to pandemics in the global health architecture of the world.
We will continue to stand together with Kenya in the ongoing fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and need to step up our efforts to make global vaccination a reality.
Aline Kuster-Menager is the ambassadors of France to Kenya, while Annett Günther is the German envoy.