AfDB to invest $3bn in vaccines manufacturing in Africa
…continent requires $484bn to address impacts of pandemic
The African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to invest $3 billion to support pharmaceutical and vaccines manufacturing in Africa.
This is as the president of the bank, Akinwumi Adesina, decried the low access to COVID-19 vaccines by African countries.
Adesina, who addressed the 25th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union, said only 11 percent of the African population has been fully vaccinated, with another 16 percent partially vaccinated.
“While developed countries have moved to booster shots, Africa is still struggling with basic shots,” he said, adding that to address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and support economic recovery, Africa will need some $484 billion over the next three years.
“Africa needs $600 million to $1.3 billion to meet its goal of attaining 60 percent vaccine production by 2040. Investing in health is investing in national security. The African Development Bank plans to invest $3 billion to support pharmaceutical and vaccines manufacturing capacity for Africa.”
According to Adesina, the general capital of the bank was increased in 2019 by 125 percent, rising from $93 billion to $208 billion, the highest since its establishment in 1964.
He explained that with the resources, the bank has been able to scale up support to African economies to tackle the effect of the pandemic.
“The board of directors of the bank approved a crisis response facility of up to $10 billion. The bank also launched a $3 billion fight COVID-19 social bond on the international capital markets, which was the largest ever US-dollar denominated social bond in world history. The bank provided $ 27 million as grants to the African Centres for Disease Control.
He also disclosed that over the past six years, the bank has provided about $39 billion in financing to the continent in support of its High5 priorities which include lighting up and powering Africa; Feeding Africa; integrating Africa; industrialising Africa, and improving the quality of life of the people of Africa.
According to him, an assessment of these High5s by the United Nations Development Programme indicated that the High5s would lead to the achievement of 90 percent of the Agenda 2063 goals and 90 percent of the Sustainable Development Goals target.
“So much has been achieved on the High5s. In the past five years, the work of the African Development Bank Group has impacted the lives of 335 million people – fast-tracking the move towards achieving the Agenda 2063 goals.
“Close to 21 million people have gained access to electricity. Nearly 76 million people have benefitted from agricultural technologies for food security. More than 12 million people have gained access to finance through private sector investment companies. Over 69 million people have been provided with improved transport. And 50 million people have gained access to improved water and sanitation.
“Feeding Africa remains a top priority. Our Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation which we call TAAT has provided drought-tolerant technologies for 12 million farmers across Africa. The bank is supporting the creation of special agro-industrial processing zones in 18 countries to help drive the transformation of agriculture as a major source of wealth and jobs,” he said.