The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Africa’s premier development finance institution, on Wednesday announced the creation of a $10 billion Response Facility to support the current fight against the COVID-19 pandemic across the continent. The multi-billion dollar facility, which will be provided to governments and the private sector involved in the pandemic fight, is the latest measure taken by the tank to respond to the pandemic and will be its primary channel for its efforts to address the crisis. According to a news report circulated by the African Press Organisation (APO) Group on behalf of the bank, the facility entails $5.5 billion for sovereign operations in AfDB countries, and $3.1 billion for sovereign and regional operations for countries under the African Development Fund, the bank Group’s concessional arm that caters to fragile countries. The balance of $1.35 billion will be devoted to private sector operations.
Commenting on the funding support, the AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, was quoted as saying that said the package took into account the fiscal challenges that many African countries are facing in their efforts to deal with the ravaging pademic. He explained: “Africa is facing enormous fiscal challenges to respond to the coronavirus pandemic effectively. The African Development Bank Group is deploying its full weight of emergency response support to assist Africa at this critical time. “We must protect lives. This Facility will help African countries to fast-track their efforts to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19. “These are extraordinary times, and we must take bold and decisive actions to save and protect millions of lives in Africa. We are in a race to save lives. No country will be left behind”, the development finance banker added. Adesina also commended the bank’s Board of Directors for its unwavering support. Commenting on the Facility, Acting Senior Vice-President Swazi Tshabalala said: “The setting up of the Facility required a collective effort and courage by all our staff, Board of Directors and our shareholders.” It would be recalled that a fortnight ago, the bank launched a $3 billion Fight COVID-19 Social Bond, the world’s largest US dollar-denominated social bond ever on the international capital market. This is even as the Board of Directors last week also approved a $2 million grant for the World Health Organization (WHO) for its efforts on the continent.