Foreign Minister Baerbock prior to her departure for Rwanda

17.12.2023 - Press release

No one is safe until everyone is safe – when COVID swept the globe, the world came to realise this. It is still painful today that far too many people – especially in Africa – were at the mercy of the virus at the start of the pandemic. That we as an international community were literally unable to deliver. That far too few life-saving vaccine doses made it to where they were urgently needed: the sick, the elderly, children, and those who, as doctors or paramedics, had taken up the fight against the pandemic on the front lines from Abuja to Kigali.

Diseases know no borders or continents – and neither should our solidarity. We have learned lessons as an international community. During Germany’s G7 Presidency in 2022, we jointly raised four billion dollars with initiatives such as the Last Mile to get vaccine doses to people around the world.

For other diseases, too – from malaria to tuberculosis – sometimes a single vaccination can make the difference between life and death. However, just and rapid access to life-saving vaccines should not depend on whether a child is born in Germany or Rwanda.

The road to a fair international health architecture is not a short-distance race, but a team marathon. That is why Team Europe supports the goal of Africa’s own vaccine production – from conception to injection. Today, only one in 100 of the vaccine doses administered in Africa is actually produced there; by 2040, this figure is set to be 60 times higher. Global Gateway is making this possible by providing 1.2 billion euro by 2027, with 550 million euro coming from Germany alone. The opening of Africa’s first mRNA vaccine factory in Rwanda by BioNTech is not yet the finishing line – but it is a real milestone and a source of hope for millions.

Rwanda, one of the smallest countries in Africa in terms of landmass, barely larger than its German partner region Land Rhineland-Palatinate, is already today often a model of development for an entire continent: with strong economic growth, as a pioneer in climate action and environmental protection, and as far as the social participation of women is concerned.

Focusing on the future with determination, the wounds of the past should heal for all Rwandans. In 1994, humanity stared into the abyss in the face of the genocide against the Tutsi. Today, the joint remembrance of the whole world is an abiding mission to never allow this to happen again – each and every day anew.

Just how fragile the bridge to peace is when violence erupts time and again can be seen in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fighting has already driven many millions of people from their homes. I also want to call in Rwanda on all those who hold the keys to peace to take the path of de-escalation.


Top of page