Nations that were once categorised as ‘developing’ have been changed forever by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inequality and poverty have worsened making third world countries ever more dependent on external stimulus and an ever-increasing need of foreign aid for survival.

A new and robust governance is needed to ensure sustainable recovery across Africa and it’s time for the nation to take matters into their own hands and take a step towards African self-sufficiency.

Collaboration and Technology

Almost half a century ago, Patrick Soon-Shiong left his birthplace in South Africa as a newly qualified physician. Today, he’s a billionaire, part owner of American ImmuntyBio Inc., and the inventor of the cancer drug Abraxane.

Clearly, he’s made the most of his time abroad, and he’s made even better use of it during a year of isolation thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Separated from the hubbub of his daily duties, Soon-Shiong’s had plenty of time to figure out how he can help his homeland rise to the challenge of COVID-19.

Thanks to these insights, ImmuntyBio Inc. has signed a deal with the BioVac Institute, a South African vaccine company. This collaboration centres on producing coronavirus vaccines from scratch in South Africa. He’s sealed the deal with a R3 billion boost to help pass on this technology around the country.

Addressing Global Inequalities

From his vantage point at the coalface of production, Soon-Shiong’s witnessed the rapid rollout of the US vaccination program and was struck by how far Africa’s been left behind.

Despite calls to share excess doses, many European nations, as well as the US are now starting to vaccinate low-risk members of the population, while Africa hasn’t even reached 0.5% of their population.

This lag in the African rollout’s raised fear of new variants emerging on the continent, but the rest of the world’s not helping out. With less than 10 vaccine manufacturers in Africa, there’s little chance that supply will ever meet the demand in time.

That’s why Soon-Shiong’s taken thing’s a step further by equipping South Africa with the means to ramp up production and help other nations to do the same. He’s also involved with developing a vaccine capsule that can help make it easier to distribute the vaccine in developing countries.

His vision is to get a coalition of funders together to help spread the development of vaccines in Africa and herald the dawn of a new age of African self-sufficiency. He intends to use his prestigious standing among the international medical community to help this come to pass.

Now, all we as African’s need to do is rise to the challenge and make the most of these opportunities presented to us.