The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said it will invest $3 billion to support Africa’s covid-19 vaccines manufacturing capacity.
The President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this at the 35th African Union Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to Adesina, the funds will ensure that the continent’s 1.4 billion people gain greater access to quality healthcare.
He said the continent still needs $484 billion over the next three years to address the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and support economic recovery of Africans but that the most important lesson of the pandemic for Africa is the need to build a defense mechanism against external shocks, when it comes to healthcare and financial security.
More than 10.2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered across 184 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg.
In total, 130 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given for every 100 people around the world—but the vaccine distribution has been unbalanced as regions with the highest incomes are getting vaccinated more than 10 times faster than those with the lowest.
In Africa, only 21 out of 54 countries have vaccinated at least 10 per cent of its population.
“About 16 Africa countries have vaccinated less than five per cent and three countries have fully vaccinated less than two per cent,” the World Health Organisation (WHO), Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti. said at a recent conference.
According to WHO, as of February 3, 2022, Africa had received more than 587 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
About 58 per cent of vaccines were delivered through the COVAX Facility, 36 per cent from bilateral deals, and six per cent through the Africa Vaccines Acquisition Trust (AVAT) of the African Union.
Ms Moeti said currently, six million people are vaccinated on average every week in Africa, and this number needs to increase to 36 million to reach the 70 per cent target agreed globally.
Adesina, during the summit, added that Africa also needs $600 million to $1.3 billion to meet its goal of attaining 60 per cent vaccine production by 2040.
He said while developed countries have moved to booster shots, “Africa is still struggling with basic shots”.
“Your Excellencies, we must learn from this experience. Africa can no longer outsource the security of the lives of its 1.4 billion people to the benevolence of others,” he said.