By Fabiola Kemegni
The African Development Bank recently launched a funding package worth $3 billion, to reduce the severe economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the continent especially the low income countries horribly weakened by the coronavirus pandemic that continues to devastate the world.
According to a press release issued by the AFBD on March 29, 2020, this is the largest dollar-denominated social bond ever launched in the international capital market ever issued by the bank, which will pay an interest rate of 0.75%. Thus, several African countries have already been granted funding for their different development projects in the fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
As the COVID-19 outbreak is dangerously threatening the African economy, the AFDB have deployed a three-year social bond which will help in alleviating the economic impact the pandemic will have on the African economy. Also, it is to assist African countries, through the financing access to health facilities, infrastructures and all other essential goods and services that can help combat the deadly coronavirus in Arica.
Consequently, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved an emergency project of $22.4 million in support of three low-income ECOWAS countries, that is Gambia, Mali, and Niger to reinforce their health system and provide test kits, laboratory gadgets, ventilators and other personal protective equipment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
$20 million was equally disbursed to develop the ability to curb and stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad.
The operation is aimed at providing funding for the project which will also boost resilience of vulnerable communities, including internally displaced persons, refugees and their host communities in these countries. In addition, a support of about, $13,55million was equally granted to the Central African, Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC countries, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to support them curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Subsequently, $1.2 million was granted to the Ethiopians government to finance a feasibility study into a standard-gauge railway link between Ethiopia and neighboring Sudan on June 10.
Still on June 10, Somalia benefited from water supply and a sanitation project with over 2.6 million internally displaced persons in Somalia, given that the outbreak of COVID-19 poses an additional challenge to the fragile situation, leaving the population highly vulnerable. The African Development Bank-financed came in as a critical control intervention, although COVID-19 was not anticipated in 2016 when the project was launched.
On June 17, the World Bank equally approved 225 million euros loan to finance Egypt’s Electricity Green Growth Support Program, EGGSP, which will help meet the government of Egypt’s financing requirements in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a sound electricity base. Also, $4.16 million granted to South Soudan to support the emergency response to the pandemic an strengthen the country’s fragile health system, by providing health facilities and reinforce the country’s capacity to detect and curb the spread of coronavirus in South Soudan.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank equally approved a $288.5 million loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.
The loan will boost the government’s plans to improve surveillance and respond to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system. Amongst African countries who benefited from the AFDB support are Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana Equatorial Guinea, and many others.