The World Bank and the African Union on Monday announced that they are partnering to support the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative with resources to allow countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa.
The World Bank in a statement said it met with African finance ministers to fast-track vaccine acquisition on Africa and avoid a third wave and also meet AU’s target to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent’s population by 2022.
The Bank informed that it has $12 billion in vaccine financing available to help countries purchase and distribute vaccines and address readiness issues.
The Bank further informed that it has already approved operations to support vaccine rollout in 36 countries, and by the end of June, it will support vaccination efforts in 50 countries, two-thirds of which are in Africa.
World Bank Group President David Malpass said, “The World Bank is very pleased to support African countries through this partnership with the African Union to quickly provide hundreds of millions of doses.
“Working together, we can expedite doses to countries and support deployment. Countries urgently need more pathways for acquiring vaccines that match their needs and have early delivery schedules.
“This extraordinary regional effort complements COVAX and comes at a time of rising COVID-19 cases in the region. World Bank financing is available to support the purchase and deployment of doses secured by AVATT.”
Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy and coordinator of the AVATT, explained that as a result of the joint initiative between the World Bank and African institutions such as the Africa Import-Export Bank and the Africa Centre for Disease Control, AVAAT now has the capacity to vaccinate at least 400 million people or 30 percent of the population of 1.3 billion.
“We really appreciate the extraordinary partnership on this initiative between the AU Vaccine Champion, President Cyril Ramaphosa, and David Malpass, the President of the World Bank,” Masiyiwa said.