From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has warned that Africa’s economies will continue to remain in jeopardy until the continent finds an answer to the non-availability of COVID-19 vaccination.
Speaking at a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in Accra, Ghana, President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, emphasised the need for the continent to take the challenge to start the production of its own vaccines, not just for COVID-19, but also to create a safeguard against future outbreaks.
While assuring that the bank would collaborate with African countries to anchor finances for the health sector and shop for support to start the production of a vaccine in Africa. He announced that the bank would commit $3 billion to the development of the pharmaceutical industry on the continent.
Adesina drew attention to the financial risk that the unconquered COVID-19 pandemic poses to the continent, especially the West African sub-region, and emphasised the need for leaders of the continent to immediately commence strengthening the defence of health sector.
His words: “The African Development Bank moved very quickly to launch a $10 billion facility to support countries. We also launched a $3 billion COVID-19 social bond on the global capital markets, which was the largest social bond ever in world history. Now things are looking up again. The bank will ramp up support for Africa to produce vaccines as part of the vaccines plan for the African Union. The bank will also commit $3 billion to develop the pharmaceutical industry in Africa.
“It is now time to rapidly build a healthcare defence system for Africa to tackle this and future pandemics. The African Development Bank plans to invest in building quality healthcare infrastructure in Africa.”