President Paul Kagame has lashed out at wealthy nations, blaming them for their actions that contradict what they describe as their values in the current troubled world order.
He accused rich countries of stockpiling COVID-19 vaccines and at the same time imposing travel restrictions on poor countries because their citizens are not vaccinated.
“… the double standards and hypocrisy that consistently applied to Africa show that something else is happening,” Kagame said during his speech at the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi on October 1. . despite the obstacles.
For example, Kagame said, “COVAX was supposed to be a solution to help low-income countries access vaccines and therapies. But Covax could not compete with rich countries for supply, and we have seen examples of hoarding, ”the president noted.
He accused the rich countries of contradicting themselves because “they are the ones who offered doses of vaccine via COVAX”.
“To add insult to injury, we now see some travel restrictions based on where people have been vaccinated, even though the vaccines themselves are exactly the same. So now we have the problem of where you are vaccinated, something else that is about to happen or that is happening slowly is; what kind of vaccine, ”Kagame said.
Below is a whole speech
I am happy to be back at the World Policy Conference and I would like to thank Thierry de Montbrial for the invitation to join you here in Abu Dhabi.
The last two years have been particularly significant.
The Covid pandemic is unprecedented, but it has exposed weaknesses, both in national and global systems, that have been around forever.
This includes gaps in public health and governance.
The crisis has also revealed, quite strikingly, the economic and power imbalances within the international community.
As the great powers strive to contain and coerce each other, Africa is the recipient, in every sense of the word.
This means, of course, that when vaccine stocks are scarce, Africa is the last to receive the doses.
Africa is also, almost after the fact, attacked for all kinds of things, in the name of so many things including democracy, human rights, as if these concepts or values were totally foreign to Africa.
One could say that one of Africa’s functions in international relations is to serve as a foil to the importance of universal values, precisely because so many states outside of Africa continue to fail themselves. .
The unspoken assumption is that only rich countries and their political elites have interests.
Poor countries should allow their interests to be defended by others.
The rights and well-being of ordinary people are completely forgotten. We cannot speak of a theoretical democracy that is not built on what the real citizens of this place desire for themselves, their families and their societies.
It is the confusion, in some cases, for example, of contemporary liberal democracy with its singular emphasis on individual freedoms, identities and desires, even at the expense of the common good.
This is not to say that there are not serious gaps in Africa, as elsewhere there is a lot to be filled in Africa. That is not the question at all.
But the double standards and hypocrisy that have systematically applied to Africa show that something else is happening.
However, where major global players stick to certain principles, things can and do work.
We seem to be on a course towards the pandemic, despite the obstacles. For example, COVAX was supposed to be a solution to help low-income countries access vaccines and therapies.
But Covax couldn’t compete with rich countries for supply, and we’ve seen examples of hoarding. In reality, it was the rich countries that offered doses of vaccines via COVAX.
To add insult to injury, we now see some travel restrictions based on where people have been vaccinated, even though the vaccines themselves are exactly the same. So now we have a problem of where you are vaccinated, something else that is about to happen or that is happening slowly is; what kind of vaccine.
Despite this, there is progress.
Access to vaccines has started to increase, both through donations and through doses we buy for ourselves.
In Rwanda, we have administered more than 2 million doses, and 90% of people in towns, including the capital, Kigali, have received a dose.
We also plan to cooperate with various business and development partners to launch an ambitious program to manufacture vaccines and other pharmaceuticals for the African market, starting next year.
So even though things could have been better, we appreciate the good cooperation that has been present.
Another area where good partnerships can produce results is the fight against insecurity, terrorism, extremist ideologies, including genocide ideology.
There are cross-border challenges which require close cooperation. Rwanda’s engagement in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in Africa falls under this heading.
Islamist insurgents are now on the run in northern Mozambique in the province of Cabo Delgado, due to a good program of cooperation between the Rwandan Defense Forces, those of Mozambique and the region.
Likewise, our commitment to the Central African Republic, which is both bilateral and multilateral, through the United Nations, aims to create space for the country to chart its own path towards political reconciliation, peacefully.
The next step is to consolidate the gains and focus on providing services and ensuring citizens’ rights.
These are just two examples that could be related to some of the themes discussed at this event.
Once again, I thank the World Policy Conference for a wonderful evening and this opportunity. And thank you all for your kind attention and interest.
I look forward to our discussions taking place immediately.