The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Wednesday commended the African Export-Import Bank for filling the financial gap in accessing COVID-19 vaccine across Africa.
The remarks were made by John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, after the announcement that the African Export-Import Bank will facilitate payments by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to 2 billion U.S. dollars to the manufacturers on behalf of the African Union (AU) members.
“The biggest challenges to COVID-19 vaccine access in Africa have been financing of the vaccines and the logistics of vaccinating at scale, but we are glad that this gap is being filled by the African Export-Import Bank financing facility,” said John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
“The critical decision now is how to get started so that once we start there will be no disruptions, and this is where the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) will play a very big role,” the Africa CDC Director said.
On Tuesday, the Africa CDC had announced the commencement of a COVID-19 vaccines pre-order program for all the AU members.
The move by the AMSP, on behalf of the Africa CDC, came a week after the announcement by the South African President and African Union (AU) Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa, on January 14 that the AU has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Africa through its COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
The AMSP, in order to support vaccination operations, has also launched a new category of vaccine accessories which will help member states to procure products such as ultra-low temperature freezers, personal protective equipment, cotton wool rolls, syringes and needles.
While AVATT has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccines doses from Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca, AMSP — the single-source platform enabling faster, more transparent and cost-effective access to COVID-19 supplies — has opened the pre-orders program.
According to the Africa CDC, the initiative offers equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine doses for the AU members.
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank, Benedict Oramah, also stressed that the Afrexim Bank is proud to expand its support to African economies in their bid to contain the pandemic.