The World Bank has expressed readiness to commit US$12 billion as concessional loans to assist African countries access foreign vaccines.
During a virtual meeting on the Africa COVID-19 Vaccine Financing and Deployment Strategy, the World Bank informed that the emergency vaccine financing projects in Africa, including Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, Eswatini and Cabo Verde.
The funds are available now, and for most African countries, the financing would be on grant or highly concessional terms, adding, IFC is working to mobilize financing for vaccine production and therapeutics focused on developing countries.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 last March, the bank has committed $25 billion to African countries to support their health and economic recovery, and we expect to commit an additional $15 billion by June.
“In implementing our vaccines programmes, we’re working directly with governments, including to finance their purchases from vaccine manufacturers and via COVAX. For deployment efforts, we’re working with partners such as the WHO and UNICEF”, World Bank Group President, David Malpass, informed the meeting.
“I urge you to focus and prioritize efforts toward these funding programs, and not slow the momentum through complex contracts and intermediaries. Our financing is available today and vaccine manufacturers are eager to work with countries on delivery dates and direct contracts”, he further said.
He said that “Country Directors and Country Managers have been in contact with all of you. We would encourage those countries that have not yet requested World Bank support to send a letter to their World Bank Country Director asking for support for vaccine procurement and deployment from the $12 billion facility. We look forward to receiving these letters so that our teams can expeditiously support you.”
“To conclude, we urge leaders of African countries to move quickly to secure vaccinations for their populations, and to avail themselves of the financing available from us and other partners to help with this. The World Bank Group stands ready to work swiftly with our clients and partners to respond to this pandemic.”
The cost of vaccinating 60% of Africa’s 1.3 billion people would be between $10 billion and $15 billion, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control.
The continent has secured 36% of its vaccine needs, with 25% of the doses to come from the Covax initiative and 11% from a separate African Union program, Africa’s CDC said. But it’s far behind the rest of the world in terms of acquisition and inoculations, with richer nations having secured the scarce shots early.
South Africa accounts for the biggest number of Africa’s coronavirus cases. The overall number of Covid-19 cases in Africa currently stands more than 3.5 million, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa.