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South Africa: World Bank approves a US$480 mln loan to strengthen the healthcare system

Wednesday, 15 June 2022 18:24
South Africa: World Bank approves a US$480 mln loan to strengthen the healthcare system

(Ecofin Agency) - In Africa, South Africa has the highest number of cumulated positive Covid-19 cases and deaths (estimate is about 4 million positive cases). Despite its seemingly high vaccination rate, the country is faced with a fifth wave, which forces it to call for foreign assistance. 

 The World Bank will provide US$480 million to help boost South Africa’s health system and bolster Covid-19 vaccination programs.  The information was announced by the National Treasury in a release published on its website Monday, June 3. 

The financial resources provided will be used to fund a Genomic Surveillance Project to improve the country’s ability to identify SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the national territory and even in countries surrounding it. The resources will also be used to protect the poor and vulnerable from the negative socio-economic impacts of SARS-CoV-19 through the Pandemic Response Development Policy Operation, and to fund the Emergency Response Project.

Thanks to the financing (a low-interest loan), South Africa will also purchase 47 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. “By supporting the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program, the project [the Covid-19 Emergency response project funded by the World Bank through the laon] will help the government better cope with the pandemic, as the country experiences its fifth wave, and support the [Governement of South Africa] to create the fiscal space needed to strengthen its health system and ensure financial and institutional sustainability,” the National Treasury’s release informs. 

In addition to providing vital support to South Africa’s health system, this new low-interest loan contributes to the government’s fiscal relief package while reinforcing South Africa’s decisions on how best to provide relief to the economy and those worst affected by the crisis,” the release adds. 

According to the National Treasury, more than 36.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the country. Nearly 50.3% of adults and 29.9% of adolescents aged between 12 and 17 have already been vaccinated. Despite this relatively high vaccination rate, the country, which has 4 million cases of infection (including deaths), is currently facing a fifth wave.

Jean-Marc Gogbeu

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