Former Ghanaian President John Mahama has joined other world leaders to sign an emotional letter to the Group of Seven (G7) countries asking them to bankroll a program to vaccinate the whole world against the coronavirus disease.
Referred to as the Global pantheon of First Citizens, the crusading leaders are 230, including 100 former Presidents.
The group includes former UK Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, former leaders of Ireland, President Mary Robinson , former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former New Zealand Prime Ministers, Helen Clark and Dame Jenny Shipley.
Others are former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shauket Aziz, former premier of Korea, Han Seung-soo, and 15 former African leaders including Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, and FW de Klerk of South Africa.
The unprecedented pressure from the world leaders comes ahead of a G7 meeting on Friday, June 11, 2021.
It also comes as an opinion poll commissioned by Save the Children, the world’s leading children’s organization, across all the G7’s western members, show overwhelming support for the world’s seven richest countries paying a share of the US$66billion required to vaccinate the world.
According to the poll by Save the Children, across the US, France, Germany, Canada and the UK, over 70% of people support the G7 paying a share of the cost of the vaccine, in a match with the size of their economies.
Across the five countries, among those who support or oppose the policy, the UK saw the highest level of support, with 79% compared to 21% opposing. The USA saw 76% support, 24% oppose; Canada: 73% support, 27% oppose; France: 63% support, 37% oppose; Germany: 71% support, 29% oppose.
In their plea, the pan-global leaders want the G7 “to lead the way by guaranteeing to pay 67 per cent of ACT-A requirements for health” – around $30bn a year over two years – for what they say is the best public investment in history.
“For the G7 to pay is not charity, it is self-protection to stop the disease spreading, mutating and returning to threaten all of us. Costing just 30p per person per week in the UK is a small price to pay for the best insurance policy in the world. Savings from vaccination are set to reach around $9 trillion by 2025,” insists former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
Executive Director of Save the Children, Kirsty McNeill, is reported as saying UK organizations representing some 12 million people are calling for change. “When it comes to vaccine justice what stands out is that people of different ages, in different locations and with different backgrounds are united. They want the G7 to make the world safe again. Their publics will not accept anything less than a serious and fully-funded plan to crack the global covid crisis.”
In the UK, more than 70% of adults have received their first dose and coverage rates in many rich countries are approaching half the adult population. Meanwhile, much of sub-Saharan Africa has reached less than 2% of their adults.
The leaders’ pantheon also call for a global growth plan, debt restructuring and climate finance for the poorest countries and say that while “2020 witnessed a failure of global cooperation, 2021 can usher in a new era.”