In its bid to support African countries in fight against coronavirus, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $27.33 million in grants to boost the African Union’s efforts towards mobilising a continental response in curbing COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank explained that the approval had been given after a meeting of the extended Bureau of the Conference of Heads of State and Government with Africa’s private sector, chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa who is also the chairperson of the AU on April 22 April.
AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, said that the organisation’s Board of Directors approved the grants on Wednesday and that the approval was in line the bank’s commitment towards contributing to the AU’s COVID-19 Response Fund established by the AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Mahamat, in March.
Through a statement released from the AfDB, Adesina said that the grants are sourced from the ADF’s regional operations/regional public goods envelope and the transition support facility.
According to him, the bank’s grant would support the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in providing technical assistance and building capacity for 37 African Development Fund (ADF) eligible countries.
He added that the assistance and capacity building are targeted particularly at the transition states to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact.
Adesina explained that the two grants would support the implementation of Africa CDC’s COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan through strengthening surveillance at various points of entry including air, sea, and land in African countries.
Furthermore, he said that the grants would also support the building of sub-regional and national capacity for epidemiological surveillance, and ensure the availability of testing materials and personal protective equipment for frontline workers deployed in hotspots.
“With this financing package, we are reaffirming our strong commitment to a coordinated African response in the face of COVID-19.
“Most importantly, we are sending a strong signal that collectively, the continent can address the pandemic, which is straining health systems and causing unprecedented socio-economic impacts on the continent,” the statement quoted Adesina as saying.