“Through our actions we can change reality”

The Federal Chancellor addresses the Global COVID-19 Summit “Through our actions we can change reality”

Germany is continuing its comprehensive support for global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It is contributing a further 1.5 billion US dollars to the ACT-A initiative in 2022, making it the second-largest donor worldwide. As the Federal Chancellor said in his address to the second Global COVID-19 summit, Germany intended to use its G7 Presidency “to set a good example.”

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Video Statement by Chancellor Scholz at the "Global COVID-19 Summit"

The second digital COVID-19 summit took place on Thursday, hosted by the US President, Joe Biden. As Germany holds the G7 Presidency, Federal Chancellor Scholz took part in the summit as co-host.

In his video message Scholz emphasised that the COVID-19 pandemic is “by no means over.” Over 6.2 million people around the world have died of COVID-19 and more are dying every day. “Ongoing outbreaks and new, concerning variants of the virus highlight the risk that the pandemic will drag on,” the Federal Chancellor said.

The COVID-19 pandemic: a “catastrophe” for many countries

Scholz stated that this was a “catastrophe” for many countries, particularly those in the Global South. He explained that the pandemic was accompanied by other serious challenges such as food shortages, rising energy prices and the impact of climate change. The consequence would be rising debt and inflation around the world, the Federal Chancellor said.

If the pandemic were to be ended around the world, we had to continue to fight it globally, Scholz said, citing examples such as powerful financial support through the ACT-A international initiative, which would continue to be a “top priority” in 2022.

Germany was one of the founder members of Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A for short), an international initiative launched in April 2020 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the second-largest funder for the scheme. The majority of the funding goes to the COVAX international vaccine platform, which is part of ACT-A.

Germany: a further 1.5 billion US dollars for ACT-A

By doing this, Germany intended to “set a good example” through its G7 Presidency, Scholz said. He stated Germany intended to contribute a total of over 1.5 billion US dollars to ACT-A in 2022.

The initiative is now in its third year and this funding means Germany continues to contribute a fair share of ACT-A's financial needs, calculated on the basis of the economic power of the countries and the benefit they would gain from a rapid end to the pandemic. Since 2020, Germany has donated a total of 3.5 billion US dollars to ACT-A.

Nevertheless, despite all these efforts, there was still “a considerable shortfall in funding which we have to make up together,” Scholz said, explaining this was why they were meeting for the second Global COVID-19 Summit.

The second Global COVID-19 Summit was organised by US President Joe Biden. As Germany currently holds the G7 Presidency, Federal Chancellor Scholz co-hosted the summit. The meeting was held virtually. The first Global COVID-19 Summit took place on 22 September 2021.

Germany’s “Last Mile Initiative” supporting more vaccines around the world

A key element of Germany’s contribution to ACT-A worth roughly 850 million euros is being used for the Last Mile Initiative. Last year there were too few vaccines available, but now in 2022 the priority is to increase the number of vaccinations being delivered with the vaccines that are now available. While vaccines are becoming more easily available, the “last mile” – actually administering the vaccines that have been produced – remains an obstacle.

The goal of the Initiative is to support countries with weak healthcare systems (including those in Africa and the Middle East) with administering vaccines. The Initiative also aims to fund vaccination campaigns to combat vaccine scepticism and disinformation and to boost confidence in vaccines.

Which countries will benefit from the Last Mile Initiative? The pilot partners include Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Palestinian territories, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

Expanding local vaccine production in Africa

There is also a need for increased local production capacity for vaccines in Africa, both to combat COVID-19 and also those for longer-term campaigns against diseases such as malaria and Ebola. For this reason Germany is currently investing over 500 million euros to expand local production of vaccines and medicines in Africa.

Supporting the new fund for pandemic preparedness

Federal Chancellor Scholz welcomed the US initiative to create a new fund for pandemic preparedness at the World Bank, which will work closely with the WHO. The fund is intended to mobilise additional funds for pandemic provision. Scholz announced Germany was making an initial contribution of 50 million euros to the fund, subject to approval by the German Bundestag. The Federal Chancellor reiterated that “through our actions we can change reality.”

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