World Bank has $12 billion for African Covid-19 vaccine purchasesMalpass said World Bank financing is immediately available and vaccine manufacturers are eager to work with countries on delivery dates and direct contracts.
The World Bank Group has put aside $12 billion to be disbursed on behalf of African governments for the purchase of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines.
Speaking recently at the Virtual Meeting on the Africa Covid-19 Vaccine Financing and Deployment Strategy David Malpass the group president said, “It’s vital to prioritize the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. We estimate that every month of delay costs the African continent $13.8 billion in lost GDP. That’s in addition to the loss of lives and human capital.”
According to latest figures released by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) early this week, the continent has 3,579, 368 positive cases of the disease. The most affected African countries include South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Ethiopia. South Africa has reported the highest Covid-19-inflicted deaths in Africa, at 44,399 as of Tuesday.
Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union (AU) that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks. It is at the frontline of a common approach to battle the disease across the continent.
“Our goal is to ensure that all those who need the Covid-19 vaccine have access to it very quickly, but the biggest hurdle in Africa has been financing of the vaccines, and the logistics of vaccinating at scale,” Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of Africa CDC said prior to the meeting.
Malpass said, “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.”
In January, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who participated in the virtual talks and is current AU Chairperson, said they had secured a provisional 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses on behalf of Member States. This was through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.
Malpass said, “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 said the World Bank Group was already preparing emergency vaccine financing projects in 21 countries in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, Eswatini and Cabo Verde to name a few.
“The funds are available now, and for most African countries, the financing would be on grant or highly concessional terms. IFC is working to mobilize financing for vaccine production and therapeutics focused on developing countries,” Malpass said.