ACCRA (Reuters) -Ghana will start producing its own COVID-19 vaccines in January 2024, President Nana Akufo-Addo said on Wednesday in his State of the Nation Address in parliament.
A National Vaccine Institute would be established to lay out a strategy for the West African country to begin the first phase of commercial production for the jabs, he said without providing further details.
“A bill will shortly be brought to you, in this House, for your support and approval for the establishment of the National Vaccine Institute,” he said.
So far Ghana has fully vaccinated around 21.4% of its 30-million-odd inhabitants against coronavirus, according to Reuters data.
The government lifted most remaining coronavirus restrictions over the weekend, citing rapidly declining infections and a relatively successful inoculation campaign.
The president also announced that a new assembly plant with capacity to assemble 5,000 new vehicles per annum has been established by Nissan in the eastern port city of Tema, which is currently producing Nissan and Peugeot brands of vehicles for the Ghanaian and West African markets.
He deplored a string of military coups that took place in West Africa over the past 18 months and said the region was making international headlines “for all the wrong reasons”.
The governments of Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali have all been toppled since August 2020, and regional leaders are seeking to hasten a return to constitutional rule with sanctions and ultimatums.
“We do not aspire to be an island of peace and stability in a region of turmoil,” said Akufo-Addo, who also chairs West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS.
(Reporting by Cooper Inveen; Writing by Sofia ChristensenEditing by James Macharia Chege, Kirsten Donovan)