Rockefeller Foundation backs Covid-19 response efforts in Africa with US$35m commitment

AFRICA – The Rockefeller Foundation has announced an initial US$34.95 million to ensure more equitable access to Covid-19 testing and vaccines.

The commitment also seek to leverage innovation, data, machine-learning; combat the escalating food crisis; and scale up access to renewable energy in Africa.

Collaborating with 24 organizations, businesses, and government agencies, this pan-African effort will also focus on 10 countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The announcement comes 100 days after the Foundation’s landmark commitment of US$1 billion over three years to help end the Covid-19 pandemic and drive a more inclusive and sustainable global recovery.

“Since The Rockefeller Foundation first opened its Africa Regional Office in Nairobi in 1966, the region has remained a top priority for us,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation.

“With this initial round of funding, we are beginning to deliver on our billion-dollar pledge to help end the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa and for us all, while investing in wealth-building opportunities for those who have been shut out of economic progress and are bearing the brunt of this pandemic,” he added.

On his part, William Asiko, Managing Director and Head of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office said: “We are very pleased to be committing over US$30 million to ensure a sustainable, equitable Covid-19 response in Africa.”

“A significant portion of this funding will benefit the Africa CDC’s effort to accelerate testing and tracing in several countries across the continent.  These efforts will allow Governments at national and subnational levels to make informed policy decisions about lifting restrictions on movement and thereby re-opening economic activity,” added Asiko.

“We are very pleased to be committing over US$30 million to ensure a sustainable, equitable Covid-19 response in Africa

Wlliam Asiko – Managing Director & Head of Rockefeller Foudation , Africa Region

Covid-19 has deepened food insecurity and hunger across the world and in Africa and the World Food Programme estimates that hunger has doubled as a result of the pandemic, leaving more than 270 million people without enough to eat.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts focus on responding to the urgency of the Covid-19-triggered food crises while advancing more sustainable, nourishing, and equitable food systems across Africa.

Through  The Rockefeller Foundation Catalytic Capital (RFCC), the Foundation’s new public charity, US$ 5 million will support the structuring and implementation of an accelerator to power agriculture and protective foods SMEs.

As the second RFCC venture overall, and first one in Africa, the Accelerator is expected to provide technical and financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises addressing the issues of availability, equitable access, and affordability for protective, healthy foods among poor and underserved communities on the continent.

For much of the world’s poor, a key impediment to their entry into a modern economy is a lack of access to reliable electricity.

More than 75% of people without access to electricity today live in sub-Saharan Africa, and the pandemic has caused energy access rates to decrease here for the first time since 2013.

In addition, barely a quarter of healthcare facilities have access to reliable power and unlike traditional approaches to electrification, which has done little to expand access for the hundreds of millions of people in rural and peri-urban areas without power, the Foundation is investing in distributed renewable energy (DRE), which is local and inclusive.

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