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AfDB Supports AU’s COVID-19 Response With $27.33m

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) ­- The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday approved $27.33 million in grants to boost the African Union’s (AU) efforts to mobilize a continental response to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank’s Board of Directors approval of the grants is sequel to a meeting of the extended Bureau of the Conference of Heads of State and Government with Africa’s private sector on 22 April 2020.

During the meeting which was chaired by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and chairperson of the AU, the AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, pledged strong support for the AU’s COVID-19 initiative.

The AU Bureau meeting called for contributions to its COVID-19 Response Fund established by the AU Commission chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, in March 2020.

 The bank’s grant financing will support the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in providing technical assistance and building capacity for 37 African Development Fund (ADF) eligible countries, particularly the Transition States, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact. The ADF is the bank’s concessional window.

Sourced from the ADF’s Regional Operations/Regional Public Goods envelop and the Transition Support Facility, these two grants will support the implementation of Africa CDC’s COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan through strengthening surveillance at various points of entry (air, sea and land) in African countries.

In addition, it will also help in building sub-regional and national capacity for epidemiological surveillance, and ensuring the availability of testing materials and personal protective equipment for frontline workers deployed in hotspots. The operation will equally facilitate collection of gender-disaggregated data and adequate staffing for Africa CDC’s emergency operation.

President Adesina said with the approved financing package, the bank is reaffirming its strong commitment to a coordinated African response in the face of COVID-19.

“Most importantly, we are sending a strong signal that collectively, the continent can address the pandemic, which is straining health systems and causing unprecedented socio-economic impacts on the continent”, he added.

Also in her remarks, AfDB’s Ag Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Ms. Wambui Gichuri said the bank’s support for the  the AU is very apt and germane.   

“Our response today and support to the AU is timely and will play a crucial role in helping Africa look inward for solutions to build resilience to this pandemic and future outbreaks”, she stressed.

She also noted that this support will complement various national and sub-regional operations financed by the Africa Development Bank under its COVID-19 Response Facility to support African countries to contain and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

It may be recalled that at the beginning of February 2020, only two reference laboratories, in Senegal and in South Africa, could run tests for COVID-19 on the continent.

 The Africa CDC, working with governments, the World Health Organization, and several development partners and public health institutes, have increased this capacity to 44 countries currently.

Despite this progress, Africa’s testing capacity remains low, with the 37 ADF-eligible countries accounting for only 40 percent of completed COVID-19 tests to date. 


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