The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to convey support to African countries as they tackle the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AfDB shareholders have shown strong support for proposals to tackle Covid-19 as the continent faces a probability of a third wave amid poor vaccine access.
This emerged from three-day annual meetings of the bank which ended last Friday and the meetings included the 47th meeting of the Governors of the African Development Fund, the banks concessional lending arm.
Part of the proposal is that AfDB, the continents only development finance institution with an AAA credit rating, act as a conduit for International Monetary Fund (IMF) special drawing rights, which it would then on-lend to African countries.
AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina proposed an African stability mechanism, modelled on a European one, to act as a firewall against external shocks.
The lives of 1,2 billion people in Africa are at risk we must give hope to the poor, the vulnerable, by ensuring that every African, regardless of their income level, gets access to quality healthcare, as well as health insurance and social protection,” Dr Adesina said.
Going forward, Dr Adesina said the AfDB would inject heavily in domestic vaccine manufacturing and in Africas healthcare system, noting that only 51 percent of public health facilities have basic water and sanitation, and only 31 percent of healthcare facilities have electricity. The president underlined the fact that Africa imports 60-70 percent of its pharmaceutical drugs.
Kenneth Ofori-Atta, Ghanas Finance Minister and Chairperson of the African Development Bank Board of Governors, said the African Development Bank should take a leading role in the continents recovery.
“Our bank, distinct in its role, has to be at the centre of Africas build-back through targeted support to tackle Africas development challenges and lay the foundation to respond to future challenges,” Ofori-Atta said
He said Africa risked being left behind as a result of the pandemic and was staring down the possibility of a lost decade, where its economic trajectory pulls further away from that of the rest of the world.
To date, less than 1 percent of Africas adult population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, even as Africa confronts new variants and fast rising cases while the continents health and economic responses are obstructed by tightening fiscal constraints.
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