World Bank partnership unlocks over US$3 billion for African countries

Strive Masiyiwa

WORLD Bank President David Malpass this week met a delegation of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), led by African Union (AU) Special Envoy Strive Masiyiwa, to discuss the multibillion dollar financing of vaccines for African countries.

Mr Malpass later tweeted a screen shot of the meeting showing him and the bank’s top leadership, discussing with Mr Masiyiwa, Dr John Nkengasong, and Dr Vera Songwe, the UN Under Secretary General at the Economic Commission for Africa.

He wrote: “Great discussion yesterday (Saturday) with @_AfricanUnion Envoy Strive Masiyiwa, @JNKengasong & @SongweVera. The @WorldBank Group is partnering with African Union countries & @AfricaCDC. Together, we will finance #AVATT #COVID19 vaccine options & get needles into arms.”

Mr Malpass was attending the G7 meeting and he met with the African delegation prior to the meeting.

The World Bank has been working with the AU/AVATT for more than six months in a bid to help African countries secure vaccines valued at more than $3bn, that were secured from Johnson and Johnson and other suppliers.
Explaining the partnership, Mr Masiyiwa said Africa Export-Import Bank (AfriEximbank), and the World Bank, are the principle finance partners for the vaccine finance.

“AfriEximbank put up the guarantees we used to make an advance purchase, and the World Bank then provides loans and grants to member states who wish to buy the vaccines. The World Bank has set up an expedited process for this, and countries can get loans to buy vaccines and to implement their programmes,” Mr Masiyiwa said, adding that the World Bank and the AU teams meet almost every week.

Meanwhile, Mr Masiyiwa said that all 220 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines acquired by AVATT were now fully committed to member states. He said discussions were now starting on releasing a further 180 million doses of the vaccines that will be shipped beginning August this year.

“It’s exciting to know that we have commitments for all the doses now, and we could do more,” he said.

The Johnson and Johnson Vaccines will be produced from the Aspen Pharma facility in South Africa and will not be affected by the issues that affected a J&J factory in America.

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