• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
businessday logo


MTN joins AU in race to vaccinate Africa

COVID-19 vaccination

In a unique public/private partnership, MTN, Africa’s leading mobile network, has announced a donation of $25 million to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The donation will help secure up to 7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent, which will contribute to the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and profound,” said Ralph Mupita, president and chief executive officer, MTN Group.

“Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities,” Mupita said.

South African president and chairperson of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, had on 14 January 2021, announced that the African Union had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of its member states, through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.

This was an important milestone in efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Africa’s people. However, with a population of about 1.3 billion, Africa requires many more doses to achieve at least 60 percent herd immunity.

Contributions by private organisations, like MTN, are therefore essential to help the continent reach its target.

“Our goal is to ensure that all those who need the COVID-19 vaccine have access to it very quickly, but the biggest hurdle in Africa has been the financing of the vaccines and the logistics of vaccinating at scale,” says John Nkengasong, director of Africa CDC

“We, therefore, welcome the right partnerships, like the one with MTN, to achieve our minimum 60 percent vaccination target,” Nkengasong

Since the beginning of the pandemic, MTN has made significant contributions to help limit the spread of the disease and save lives and livelihoods within its African market, the telecommunication giant said.

This donation is another example of MTN’s efforts to help find lasting solutions to solve the challenges facing the continent and to guarantee a healthy Africa, for all Africans.

“We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure for a successful mass vaccination programme,” Mupita added, noting that in the coming months, MTN Group will look at similar support commitments for the markets in which we operate in the Middle East.