(Ecofin Agency) - The African Union will benefit from $1.3 billion provided by the Mastercard Foundation to finance the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines. The information was reported in a joint statement issued last June 8 with the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The resources will be deployed over three months under the “saving lives and livelihoods” initiative carried out by the Mastercard Foundation. This initiative seeks to reach herd immunity for nearly 50 million people and strengthen Africa CDC’s capacities.
Reeta Roy (pictured), President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation said: “Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent.” The Foundation’s investment will also help support local vaccine production.
Such an initiative is welcome on the continent since the post-Covid recovery also depends on the good rollout of vaccination campaign. The pandemic-related measures have led to an economic slowdown pushing the continent into its first recession in 25 years. “The number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant,” the statement reads.
Despite the progress achieved so far with the WHO-led Covax program and other initiatives, efforts remain to be made. According to figures by Africa CDC, only 2% of the African population was partially vaccinated while less than 1% was totally vaccinated. The objective is to reach 60% of the population by the end of 2022, to attain herd immunity.
“Ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access, and building Africa’s capacity to manufacture its vaccines, is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
Beyond the core goal of its investment, Mastercard Foundation sees it as an opportunity to create jobs in the health and human capital development sector in Africa.
Carine Sossoukpè (intern)