The African Development Bank’s board of directors on Wednesday approved $27.33m in grants to boost the African Union’s efforts to mobilise a continental response to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
The approval followed a meeting of the extended Bureau of the Conference of Heads of State and Government with Africa’s private sector on 22 April 2020, chaired by the President of South Africa and chairperson of the AU, H.E. Cyril Ramaphos, at which the bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, pledged strong support for the AU’s COVID-19 initiative.
The AfDB said in a statement titled, ‘African Development Bank approves $27.33m to ramp up the African Union’s COVID-19 response initiative,’ said the AU Bureau meeting called for contributions to the African Union’s COVID-19 Response Fund established by the AU Commission chairperson, Mr Moussa Mahamat, in March 2020.
Speaking after the board approval of this operation, Adesina said, “The African Development Bank will strongly support Africa to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and build back, strongly and smartly.
“The bank’s financial support to the Africa Centers for Disease Control, reaffirms our strong commitment to regional efforts to tackle the pandemic being coordinated by the African Union.
“Africa needs a well-financed Africa Centers for Disease Control, today and for the future.”
The bank’s grant financing would support the disease control agency in providing technical assistance and building capacity for 37 African Development Fund 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 envelope and the Transition Support Facility, these two grants would 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; 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 would also facilitate collection of gender-disaggregated data and adequate staffing for Africa CDC’s emergency operations center.