The partnership between the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Union (AU) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa is coming to reality as the first doses of the vaccines will begin to arrive into the Continent.
“The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by African Export- Import Bank (Afreximbank), who is also the Financial, and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Installment Payment facility providers and Payment Agents,” a statement said. Announcing the arrival of the vaccines, former chairman of African Union and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said “ On 5 August, the first monthly shipments will arrive in several Member States, and shipments will continue for a total of 6.4m doses shipped in August. Monthly shipments will continue and be continually ramped up, with a target of delivering almost 50m vaccines before the end of December. By January, the number of vaccines being released will be in excess of 25m per month.
In collaboration with the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), UNICEF is providing logistical and delivery services to the Member States.” President Ramaphosa said: “This is a momentous step forward in Africa’s efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of its people. By working together and by pooling resources, African countries have been able to secure millions of vaccine doses produced right here in Africa. This will provide impetus to the fight against COVID-19 across the continent and will lay the basis for Africa’s social and economic recovery.” This vaccine acquisition is a unique milestone for the African continent.
It is the first time Africa has undertaken a procurement of this magnitude involving all Member States. It also marks the first time that the AU Member States have collectively purchased vaccines to safeguard the health of the African population – 400m vaccines are sufficient to immunise a third of the African people and bring Africa halfway towards its continental goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the population.
International donors have committed to deliver the remaining half of the doses required through the COVAX initiative. President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, , said: “The very low access to vaccines has exposed Africa to a devastating third and fourth waves of COVID-19. Death rates are rising and economies are becoming increasingly vulnerable. We are encouraged by the successful commencement of this vaccine roll-out, which will help contain the spread of the virus and protect lives and livelihood. Afreximbank is pleased to have contributed in the historic procurement of vaccines by AVAT.
We look forward to better days ahead for our people through this effort.” “This is a proud moment for the continent; the vaccines, partly manufactured in South Africa are a true testament that local production and pooled procurement as envisioned in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are key to the attainment of a more sustainable post-Covid economic recovery across the continent,” said Dr Vera Songwe, United Nations Under-Secretary- General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Africa can create over 5 million more jobs if more health commodities are manufactured on the continent. Regular technical meetings of the African Ministers of Finance, who collaborated in an unprecedented manner to make today possible, were coordinated by UNECA.
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