By IKENNA EMEWU
The African Development Bank (AfDB) over the weekend disbursed a total of US$345.685 million to seven African countries to assist in their interventions against the Covid-19 pandemic crises stripping African economies bare.
The disbursements were contained in series of press releases by the AfDB published on its website (www,afdb.org)
The beneficiary countries included Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Uganda that got $31.6 million Djibouti, Rwanda and Liberia.
The various interventions are all fallouts of the initial US$10 billion Covid-19 fund the bank announced in May to enable it step into salvaging the health and economic damages of the pandemic to African countries.
The funds that get to the countries through the African Development Fund (ADF) are allocated to the countries according to peculiar needs.
While many of them are to assist in procuring medical consumables, provision of medical facilities and training of experts, some are for infrastructure provision such as electricity, economic enablers in agriculture to rural populations that are most affected by the pandemic economic fallouts.
Regarding Uganda, the bank noted that “the objective of the operation is to support Uganda’s efforts to contain the human cost of COVID-19, mitigate its social and economic impact, and support economic recovery. The proposed operation seeks to achieve three short-term and medium-term outcomes: enhanced capacity to test and treat COVID-19 patients to reduce risk of infection and morbidity; ease the impact of the lockdown and other COVID-19 related measures on the poorest; and, mitigate risk to medium-term macroeconomic stabilization and economic resilience.”
On Friday, July 24, AfDB issued a statement that approval of $69 million grant to support Ghana’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic was made by its Foundation. The grant to Ghana is to assist provide budgetary support for its Covid-19 intervention financing especially as cases keep escalating to over 30,000 this weekend.
The ADF fund will enable Ghana to “upgrade the capacity of healthcare facilities to isolate, diagnose and care for patients, and provide more test kits, pharmaceuticals, equipment and beds. It will also ensure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and support financial incentives and an insurance package for health and allied professionals.”
To three other West African countries of The Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the AFD also approved US$53.25 million this weekend as direct budget support to bolster efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the countries.
Djibouti, the Horn of Africa country got $41.16 million boost to shore up government efforts to mitigate national and regional impacts of the pandemic.
And finally, eastern African country of Rwanda was on Thursday given the approval of a concessional loan of $97.675 million. This is also with the objective of helping the country strengthen its internal efforts to combat the pandemic while sustaining a robust economy. The fund would help Rwanda tide over the economic effects of coronavirus outbreak with minimal shock.