EU COVID-19 passport scheme set to take effect on July 1

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA—THE World Bank and the African Union,AU have agreed to collaborate to support the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team,AVATT initiative with resources to allow countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa. 

This came as African Finance Ministers and the World Bank Group met Tuesday,to fast track vaccine acquisition on the continent and avoid a third wave.

The partnership is aimed at achieving the African Union’s target to vaccinate 60% of the continent’s population by 2022, 

This extraordinary regional effort complements COVAX and comes at a time of rising COVID-19 cases in the region.

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 World Bank financing is available to support the purchase and deployment of doses secured by AVATT.

 “The World Bank is very pleased to support African countries through this partnership with the African Union to quickly provide hundreds of millions of doses,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

According to him, “Working together, we can expedite doses to countries and support deployment. Countries urgently need more pathways for acquiring vaccines that match their needs and have early delivery schedules.”

 Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy and coordinator of the AVATT,said:“As a result of this joint initiative between the World Bank and African institutions such as the Africa Import Export Bank and the Africa Centre for Disease Control, we now have the capacity to vaccinate at least 400 million people, or 30% of our population of 1.3 billion,”  

 “We really appreciate the extraordinary partnership on this initiative between the AU Vaccine Champion, said South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and David Malpass, the President of the World Bank.”

 Recall that the World Bank has $12 billion in vaccine financing available to help countries purchase and distribute vaccines and address readiness issues. The World Bank has already approved operations to support vaccine roll out in 36 countries. 

By end June, the World Bank expects to be supporting vaccination efforts in 50 countries, two thirds of which are in Africa. The World Bank also has strong partnerships with regional institutions such as the Africa Center for Disease Control, West African Health Organization, and the African Union Commission to enhance cross-border collaboration on disease surveillance, preparedness and response. 

 The World Bank-financed COVID-19 vaccine operations allow countries to purchase vaccines through COVAX, through regional initiatives, and through bilateral procurement from manufacturers.

 As such, the Bank has been working closely with AVATT to see that countries in Africa can use World Bank financing to purchase COVID-19 doses through the AVATT initiative as well.

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