AfDB disburses US$4.1 bln for Covid-19 response

AfDB disburses US$4.1 bln for Covid-19 response
The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Harare, (New Ziana) – The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Friday it has disbursed 90 percent of the approved US$4.1 billion under its Covid-19 response facility in the one year that the continent has been battling with the pandemic.

“These are extraordinary times, and we must take bold and decisive actions to save and protect millions of lives in Africa,” AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said when the bank announced the Covid-19 Response Facility.

“We are in a race to save lives and we will leave no country behind.”

At the time, a year ago, there were around 3,000 coronavirus cases on the continent.

A year later, the number of infections has surpassed four million, with more than 118 000 lives lost.

Funding has been disbursed to various countries and organizations including the the World Health Organisation, which received US$2 million in emergency assistance to reinforce its capacity to help African countries contain the pandemic and mitigate its impacts.

Countries that have benefited include five Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger which received US$20 million each to strengthen their national capacities to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“It will also help them limit its social and economic impact. This is a region where the pandemic is causing an unprecedented emergency on top of multiple crises,” AfDB said.

The bank also supported communication programmes to increase knowledge and prevent spread of the disease in a number of countries, while some were also provided with personal protective equipment.

AfDB said the continent, aside from the health impact of the pandemic, was also grappling with its worst economic recession in half a century.

“About 30 million Africans were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and it is estimated that another 39 million Africans could fall into extreme poverty in 2021,” the bank said.
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