World Bank readies COVID-19 vaccine funds for around 30 African countries

Photo of World Bank logo.PHOTO/AP

The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access COVID-19 vaccines, as the continent scrambles to secure doses and start immunising vulnerable groups.

Photo of World Bank logo.PHOTO/AP

Only a handful of African governments have launched mass vaccination campaigns, whereas some countries in wealthier parts of the world have already administered millions of doses. Many rely on the World Health Organization’s vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX.

The World Bank said financing projects were being prepared in African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, eSwatini, Rwanda and Senegal, without disclosing the amount of support under discussion.

“The funds are available now, and for most African countries, the financing would be on grant or highly concessional terms,” a bank spokesperson said in response to questions.

Africa reported coronavirus death toll recently surpassed 100,000, a fraction of the fatalities reported on other continents, but is rising fast as a second wave overwhelms hospitals.