In line with the UK’s Presidency of the G7, the Summit will take place in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, beginning on Friday and continuing through the weekend. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited representatives from South Africa, India, South Korea and Australia to join the permanent members, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States in their deliberations on Global Affairs.
Top of the agenda for this Summit will be how to bring about the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, with tackling climate change and developing the green energy sector not far behind. Both issues reflect a growing global perspective which recognises a shared sense of vulnerability and the interconnectedness of people and events beyond national borders and cultural and economic barriers.
In a statement released on Monday, President Ramaphosa affirmed that “the G7 group of countries acknowledge South Africa’s role in driving the continental response to COVID during our AU chairship, and the contribution it can make to global progress.”
“Our delegation to the G7 Summit will be able to talk about the progress we are making in overcoming the pandemic and the measures we have taken towards our national recovery that are slowly but steadily yielding results.”
A key area for discussion, pushed for by India, where the pandemic has wrought massive devastation, and supported by South Africa, will be the relaxation of IP rules, so that countries can produce their own generic vaccines.
According to the President, the Summit is “an opportunity to seek broader support for the struggle we are waging alongside India and more than 100 other countries to achieve a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement at the WTO to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This will enable countries to manufacture their own vaccines and pave the way for the development of a local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in our own country and on the continent.”
In an upbeat conclusion, buoyed by the recent strengthening of the Rand and broader encouraging signs of post-pandemic economic growth, the President said “The message I will be taking to the G7 Summit will be one of hope about the prospects for our country’s recovery, and indeed the global recovery.”