African Development Bank to provide Response Facility for COVID-19 Pandemic
Fighting the pandemic in Africa
The US$10 billion Response Facility has been created to assist African member countries of the AfDB to help the countries from the effects of COVID-19 with their social and economic development.
The facility is the latest measure taken by the bank to respond to the pandemic and will be the institution’s primary channel for its efforts to address the crisis. It provides up to US$10 billion to governments and the private sector, AfDB said in a statement this week.
President of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi Adesina said the package took into account the fiscal challenges that many African countries are facing.
“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,” Adesina said.
He commended the AfDB Board of Directors for its unwavering support to African regional member states.
The Response Facility entails US$5.5 billion for sovereign operations in African Development Bank countries, and US$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. An additional US$1.35 billion will be devoted to private sector operations.
“The setting up of the facility required a collective effort and courage by all our staff, Board of Directors, and our shareholders,” said the Bank’s Acting Senior Vice President, Swazi Tshabalala.
Two weeks ago, the bank launched a record-breaking US$3 billion Fight COVID-19 Social Bond – the world’s largest US dollar-denominated social bond ever on the international capital market.
Last week, the Board of Directors also approved a US$2 million grant for the World Health Organization (WHO) for its efforts on the African continent.
“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,” Adesina said.
The AfDB joins other multilaterals from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the World Bank in providing emergency funding to developing and low-income countries across the world which have been battered by the pandemic.
The bank sold a record US$3 billion debt issue last month to raise financing to help combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Just over 10,692 coronavirus cases have so far been reported in 52 of the 54 countries in Africa, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
African governments have introduced numerous measures to stem the virus’ spread including closing schools, imposing travel restrictions, and banning large gatherings.
The AfDB is on track to emphasize the benefits of tourism at the country and regional levels by assisting nations in developing tourism policy frameworks and learning best practices from contributions by industry leaders.
Travel and tourism in Africa is the most-hit economic area due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.