The African Development Bank's Board of Directors approved $27.33 million in grants to help the African Union (AU) to mobilize a continental response to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
This approval follows a pledge to support the AU's COVID-19 initiative by the Bank's president Akinwumi Adesina, during a meeting of the extended Bureau of the Conference of Heads of State and Government with Africa's private sector in April 2020, chaired by the President of South Africa and chairperson of the AU, Cyril Ramaphosa.
The meeting called for contributions towards the African Union's COVID-19 Response Fund established by Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, AU Commission chairperson in March 2020.
Speaking after the Board approval of this operation, President Adesina said: "With this financing package, we are reaffirming our 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."
AFDB's grant will support the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in providing technical assistance and building capacity for 37 African Development Fund (the Bank's concessional window) eligible countries, particularly the Transition States to help fight the pandemic and mitigate its impact.
The grant will help in strengthening surveillance at various points of entry that is air, sea, and land in African countries, ensuring the availability of testing materials and personal protective equipment for frontline workers deployed in hotspots as well as building sub-regional and national capacity for epidemiological surveillance.
This operation will also help in collecting gender-disaggregated data and adequate staffing for Africa CDC's emergency operations centre.
"Our response today and support to the African Union is timely and will play a crucial role in helping Africa look inward for solutions to build resilience to this pandemic and future outbreaks," said Ms Wambui Gichuri, Ag. Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
This support will complement various national and sub-regional operations financed by the African Development Bank under its COVID-19 Response Facility to support African countries to contain and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.