AfDB approves US$2m assistance for WHO-led measures against COVID-19 in Africa

Ethiopia secures US$165M in grant funds from AfDB to bolster COVID-19 emergency response efforts

AFRICA – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has approved US$2 million emergency assistance for the World Health Organisation (WHO), to reinforce its capacity to help African countries contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued by the Bank’s Communication and External Relations Department, AfDB said that the fund would also help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

The bank explained that the grant, which was in response to an international appeal by the WHO, would be used by the world body to equip Regional Member Countries to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate, contain and manage cases of COVID-19.

This was one part of several Bank interventions to help member countries address the pandemic which it said was slow to arrive in Africa.

The virus is spreading quickly and also straining already fragile health systems.

WHO Africa region would specifically use the funds to bolster the capacity of 41 African countries on infection prevention, testing and case management.

WHO Africa would also boost surveillance systems, procure and distribute laboratory test kits and reagents, and support coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels.

“This grant will enable Regional Member Countries to put in place robust containment measures within 48 hours of COVID-19 case confirmation and also support the WHO Africa Region to disseminate information and increase public awareness in communities,” read part of the statement.

The grant will contribute towards a US$50 million WHO Preparedness and Response Plan, which other partners including the United Nations system, are also supporting.

It is estimated that Africa will require billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scramble together for contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns, in desperate efforts to contain it.

The Bank Group is expected to unveil a financial assistance package that will enable governments and businesses to undertake flexible responses to lessen the economic and social impact of this pandemic.

Recently, the Bank raised an exceptional US$3 billion in a three-year social bond, the proceeds from which will go to help alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic. It is the largest dollar-denominated social bond launched in international capital markets to date.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.