President was apt at 76th UNGA

BY: Daily Graphic
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

At the 76th high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN Headquarters in New York which ends today, a number of world leaders and heads of global entities have taken turns to table issues and proffer directions for the world body.

Once again, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made Ghana and Africa very proud in his thought-provoking admonition to the global body on issues that touch the conscience, livelihoods and human lives.

When he mounted the podium at the UNGA last Wednesday, our President did not mince words as he encouraged the world to do away with policies, decisions and positions that affected the determination of the founding fathers of the UN to attain a fairer, greener and more peaceful globe.

He recounted the devastating effect the COVID-19 pandemic had had on the lives and sustenance of African people, especially the near wiping away of the meagre economic attainment Africa had chalked up in the last few years.

He assured the global body that that notwithstanding, Ghana and Africa were listening to scientists because it was evident that vaccination was the best way to protect populations.

The President, however, insisted that such a feat could not be realised when portions of the developed world had resorted to vaccine nationalism.

It is empirically proven and scientifically correct that a country or section of the world that has fully vaccinated its citizens can never be safe from the pandemic because the rest of the world that is not vaccinated will generate new and more dangerous strains of the virus that will render useless the immune system of those vaccinated.

It is in this light that the Daily Graphic supports the call by the President for an even distribution of vaccines for all people of the world to prevent the creation and spread of very dangerous strains.

President Akufo-Addo again touched on the recent development where some countries in Europe claimed that they would not recognise as having been vaccinated those who have taken the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India.

He explained that that vaccine was donated to three African countries through the COVAX facility and said “the use of vaccines as a tool for immigration control will be a truly regressive step”.

What is worrying is that COVAX is a global collaboration for speeding up the development, manufacture and equitable distribution of new vaccines and we believe that such a facility that has the blessing of the global health body, the World Health Organisation, should not be called to question in such a manner.

It is an undisputable fact that India’s capacity and integrity in the manufacture of effective vaccines has never been in doubt over the years and this is the main reason the European nations must take a second look at their decision and avoid what the President referred to as a “retrogressive step”.

President Akufo-Addo again represented the voice of the African Union (AU) when he called for the repositioning of key multilateral organisations and international financial institutions, such as the UN, the Bretton Woods institutions and the G20, to reflect inclusiveness, support country investments in global public goods and ensure fast-track financial support to build back better and prepare for future pandemics.

He was of the view that just as the EU was admitted to the G19 to make it G20, including the AU in the G20 would not only change the name to G21 but also bring on board 54 African economies, 1.3 billion more people and $2.3 trillion more output.

We could not have agreed more with the President when he argued that such an addition would add just one seat to the table and about ten minutes to the discussion but redefine global policy co-ordination to enable a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world to emerge.

Africa has come of age and needs to be given its rightful place at such decision-making fora, so that it will make its voice heard and participate in the development process of the world, not as a recipient of donations but an equal participant in global advancement in a sustainable manner.

One thing we cannot take away from President Akufo-Addo is his frankness and commitment to diplomatically and convincingly make a case for the attainment of the aspirations and visions of every Ghanaian and the ordinary African.

The world should realise that anytime one group in the global fraternity feels disadvantaged in such a manner, it goes to affect the entirety of humanity and becomes a blot on the conscience of the group.

Managing the largest human organisation, the UN, calls for inclusion, participation, equality of representation, as well as support for less-endowed members, and it is our conviction that such would be the next world order.