Strive Masiyiwa, the African Union Special Envoy and a member of the AU’s COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), has revealed his involvement in helping ship vaccines to the Jamaican Olympic team.
Masiyiwa – the pan-African billionaire businessman and philanthropist who mentors millions of young African entrepreneurs through his Facebook blog with over 5.7 million followers – wrote:
“Some of you may have been surprised to hear that I have been involved in helping countries of the Caribbean get vaccines.
Indeed, I have been appearing in newpapers in the Caribbean all week, as shipments of vaccines began to arrive in places like Trinidad and Tobago – from Africa!
Well, here is how it happened:
The Caribbean nations, whose citizens are mostly of African descent because of slavery, have always had a close relationship with Africa.
When African leaders appointed me as Special Envoy, they directed me to also help them with any initiatives that we come up with to deal with shortages of test kits, hospital grade masks, PPE and now vaccines.
President Uhuru Kenyatta jointly chairs the partnership between Africa and the Caribbean. He personally called me and asked me to ensure that they are supported fully, because the big countries were not allowing small Island nations to gain access (to the vaccines).
We have built an amazing relationship in our joint efforts with our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean. They are just so warm and friendly.
Anyway, here is a little story I thought you might be interested to hear: Just before the Olympic Games were due to start in Tokyo, the Foreign Minister of Jamaica asked me if I could help with some vaccines for their athletes.
It was not as easy as it might seem, but I eventually managed to borrow some from the Government of South Africa, and we flew them in a special box. They arrived just in time!
As you know, Jamaica won lots of medals. And it’s great to know that we Africans were able to help our cousins.
The Caribbean is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have had the honour to travel there many times, and each time I go there, I don’t want to return!
Tomorrow, Jamaica becomes the 6th country in the Caribbean to receive vaccine shipments in just one week.
We are moving!”
By Strive Masiyiwa