Flash Briefing: Ramaphosa accuses developed nations of ‘immoral’ vaccine hoarding; SA-born billionaire Soon-Shiong to aid SA

  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused developed countries of acting immorally by hoarding vaccines needed in poorer nations. In an address to the Global Covid-19 Summit, Ramaphosa said; “Of around 6bn doses administered worldwide, only 2% of these have been administered in Africa, which has a population of 1.2bn. This must be unjust and it is also immoral.” The World Health Organisation has set a deadline for countries to vaccinate 10% of their population by the end of September, but only about 20% of African countries will meet that target. Meanwhile, wealthier nations such as the UK and US have fully vaccinated more than 50% of their populations and are mulling the prospect of booster shots.
  • South African-born biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong will announce a plan to transfer technology for the manufacture of Covid-19 and cancer vaccines to South Africa. Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks has signed a collaboration agreement with the South African government’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the South African Medical Research Council and the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation. Three local universities are also party to the agreement. Soon-Shiong, who has a net worth of $11bn according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, made his fortune after inventing cancer drug Abraxane in the US.
  • Mining companies in South Africa are considering spending as much as R40bn to construct 2,000 megawatts of power generation capacity. This is according to Roger Baxter, CEO of Minerals Council South Africa. Mining companies have been pushing to develop their own power plants because of persistent power cuts imposed by state power utility Eskom. They are also keen to move away from total reliance on the mainly coal-fired power supplied by Eskom as their investors pay more attention to climate issues. The mining companies are planning to largely install renewable energy such as solar and wind power.
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