Global Citizen and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) have jointly announced the establishment of a new funding vehicle named ‘Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund’ aimed at providing immediate and long-term support in the fight against Covid-19.
The announcement was made during an online joint press briefing monitored by BusinessDay.
Speaking Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo expressed his delight with the new initiative noting that the Federal Government of Nigeria has instituted measures such as increasing access to testing, contact tracing and isolation and implementing social distancing to limit the potentially devastating impact of this deadly virus.
“This stakeholder led-and-resourced mechanism will provide both flexible and rapid response resources to accelerate ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19 in communities across Nigeria -as well as to strengthen health systems in the aftermath of the acute pandemic response,” he said.
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, vice chairman, Global Citizen said the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund was established to provide immediate and long-term support in the fight against COVID-19.
The Fund he noted is created by Nigerians for Nigeria and will target four core COVID-19 responses, mitigation and recovery areas these include: supporting the most vulnerable; strengthening the domestic healthcare systems; expanding access to rural and community focused universal healthcare; and re-skilling and re-tooling for Nigeria’s Renaissance post COVID-19
Uche Orji, managing director, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) said the Solidarity Fund will enable the expansion of primary health care, thereby improving access, building capacity, and enhancing the resilience of the nation’s health delivery, especially in rural and underserved communities.
Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance said the Solidarity Support Fund would help the Government in funding Covid-19 response efforts and supply of the necessary, protective and treatment equipment and long term strengthening of healthcare system.
On his part, Michael Sheldrick, chief policy officer, Global Citizen said his organization’s involvement in establishing the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund alongside the NSIA directly aligns with its Nigeria policy direction for 2020 which seeks to mobilize funds and commitment to Nigeria’s most marginalised people.
“These investments will be aimed at the implementation of Universal Healthcare Coverage; and improvement of the health of the poorest women, children, and adolescents in Nigeria which the solidarity funds core response areas directly support the overarching goals for our Nigeria policy direction,” he said.
According to Sheldrick, the organization’s commitment to the African continent and, in particular, Nigeria is motivated by two key factors, these include, the shift in geopolitical power towards emerging markets, and the recognition that developing countries want and need to have agency over their own development.
“This makes a presence in the sub-Saharan region vital to the long- term success of any initiative seeking to end extreme poverty, it is also a gateway to the rest of the African continent and, particularly, key countries like Ghana and Kenya,” he said.