COVID-19: AfDB approves nearly US$8.9mn response grant
Following the approval of nearly US$8.9nm by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund. The grant funds will aid in the response to COVID-19 relating to control measures in six Southern African Development Communities (SADC) countries. In addition to this grant, the African Development Bank has approved a US$683,000 grant for São Tomé & Príncipe, to support their response to the pandemic and its impact on the region.
The grant funding which comes under the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility, will facilitate the procurement of laboratory and medical supplies, including testing kits, personal protective gear and non-invasive ventilators in Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which are all SADC nations.
The SADC Secretariat will be the recipient of the grants and will conduct the implementation. The finance will help to reinforce the SADC’s capacity to coordinate the pandemic response measures, including surveillance and sensitization in the six South African countries.
Currently the SADC countries and São Tomé & Príncipe have inadequate resources and capacity to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic, which as a result has put a strain on the already fragile health systems in the countries. “As a result, these countries are now struggling to respond effectively to the fast-evolving situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” commented the African Development Bank.
While the spread of COVID-19 has been slow in Africa, it is continuous in its spread through the continent, which is causing disruption and hardship due to economic lockdowns. The COVID-19 pandemic is projected to have a significant impact on the economy in the SADC countries, with all SADC countries aside from Zimbabwe to see their real GDP contract in 2020.
The approved COVID-19 project, aligns with the African Development Bank’s ‘High Five’ priority areas to improve the quality of life for the people of Africa and integrating Africa, as well as the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism to fight disasters and pandemics.
As of June 24, the 16 nations in the SADC region had a total of 120,000 COVID-19 cases out of the continents total 325,000, with reported cases in São Tomé and Príncipe totalling around 700, in a population of roughly 211,000 people.
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Image source: the African Development Bank