Home » Telecom billionaire Mo Ibrahim criticizes wealthy nations for hoarding COVID-19 vaccine

Telecom billionaire Mo Ibrahim criticizes wealthy nations for hoarding COVID-19 vaccine

by Ishioma Emi

Sudanese-British billionaire philanthropist Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim has criticized wealthy nations for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines, ABC News reported. The telecom mogul stressed that global competition for vaccines has left emerging countries in dire straits.

Ibrahim said the slogan “nobody is safe until everybody is safe” is meaningless until the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed equitably worldwide. “They say that while they are hoarding the vaccine. Can you walk the talk? Stop just talking like parrots,” he said.

Ibrahim encouraged the international community to “walk the talk” of equitable distribution, as Africa is desperately lagging behind. He further argued that “at least a reasonable portion” of the vaccines should be available to frontline workers in Africa.

Last month, London-based Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa took a similar step to criticize the Serum Institute of India for making plans to extend its pause on COVID-19 vaccine exports until late 2021. His criticism followed the manufacturer’s swift decision to prioritize India and hold back its vaccines due to an unexpected surge in virus cases in the country.

Masiyiwa said he was “beyond anger” with the Indian manufacturer. This was because he had warned COVAX* not to put all its eggs in one basket. 

On the other hand, the Serum Institute of India is the primary producer for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (“Covishield”) and the principal source for the COVAX facility worldwide. Seven hundred million doses were expected from it alone in 2021.

Mo Ibrahim

Ibrahim is a telecom tycoon. He worked for several telecom companies before founding Celtel, which, when sold, had over 24 million mobile phone subscribers in 14 African countries. He is the founder and chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which he established in 2006 to support good governance and exceptional leadership in Africa. 

Forbes estimated his net worth at $1.1 billion as of February 2021.

*COVAX means COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access. It is a worldwide initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for wealthy and developing countries, directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization.

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