African Entertainers Write G20 Leaders for COVID-19 Vaccine Donations

African singers and entertainers including Beninese Angelique Kidjo and Nigeria’s Femi Kuti and Davido have called on G20 leaders to urgently donate COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.

They made the call in an open letter to the G20 leaders.

Joining Kidjo and Kuti as signatories to the letter are their fellow UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Cobhams Asuquo; actor and producer Genevieve Nnaji, and actor Daniel Etim Effiong. Also joining the call was a business leader and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu.

The signatories are asking fellow Africans to support the letter over the next month in the run-up to the G20 meetings in Rome at the end of October.

The letter reads, “Dear G20 leaders,

“At the COVID-19 Summit held at the United Nations last week, world leaders set a target that every country should vaccinate 70 per cent of its population. Many rich countries are on track, yet only a fraction of Africans are fully vaccinated.

“This inequity is unjust – and self-defeating. It leaves Africans – and the whole world – at the mercy of the virus. Unchecked, it can create new and more dangerous variants.

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“Rich nations have pledged to donate over a billion vaccines this year and hundreds of millions more in 2022. This gives us hope. But Africa cannot wait. We need doses now.

“We call on you to donate doses by December, along with resources to turn vaccines into vaccinations – to train healthcare workers, equip them with personal protection, and the infrastructure to store and transport vaccines.

“The stakes could not be higher. Every day Africa remains unprotected, pressure builds on fragile health systems where there can be one midwife for hundreds of mothers and babies. As the pandemic causes a spike in child malnutrition, resources are diverted from life-saving health services and childhood immunization. Children already orphaned risk losing grandparents. Disaster looms for Sub-Saharan African families, four out of five of whom rely on the informal sector for their daily bread. Poverty threatens children’s return to school, protection from violence and child marriage.

“Every day we wait risks a tragic reversal of hard-won development gains.

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“Remember the relief you felt when you got your first dose, when you could hug your elders, see life get back on track for your children. Africa needs this too.

“The path out of the pandemic is clear. But we can only get out together. Please donate doses by December.”

Nigerian singer and songwriter David Adedeji Adeleke (Davido) issued a special video message urging that vaccines are shared fairly with Africa, saying “For this pandemic to truly end, it has to end everywhere. Africans must have their fair access to the vaccines. This is the only way the Covid-19 can get out of here. As an African, as a Nigerian, I support UNICEF’s call on governments with excess doses to share them now. Let us join hands together to ensure fair access to vaccines for everyone.”

Kidjo, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, said, “I want the most at risk Africans to be safe, to not die or end up in hospital with COVID-19 because they didn’t have access to vaccines. The only way that is possible is to urgently vaccinate much higher numbers of people in African countries – and we need doses and support for vaccine rollouts to do that quickly enough.”

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Continuing she said, “I am calling on my fellow Africans to get behind this letter, to support the Call from Africa. Because we cannot wait for promises to be fulfilled, we need vaccines NOW, in the health centres of our countries, and in the arms of our health workers and most vulnerable brothers and sisters.”

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