Partners strengthen Africa’s fight against COVID-19 and poverty

An engineer works at the Soroti power plant in Uganda in December 2016. The plant was developed in partnership with USAID’s Power Africa. (© Isaac Kasamani / AFP / Getty Images)

The United States and its international partners are investing $ 80 billion in Africa’s private sector to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and spur sustainable growth.

The pledge that the Group of Seven (G7) countries and international development banks announced in June will support the development of renewable energy and infrastructure, as well as Africa’s manufacturing, agriculture and technology sectors. The G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States.

The United States “will continue to prioritize investments in vaccine manufacturing, COVID-19 response, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and gender equity on the African continent,” said said David Marchick, managing director of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

Recent investments build on the more than $ 100 billion the United States has invested in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years to strengthen health security and save lives.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, visits an Aspen Pharmacare vaccine manufacturing plant in Gqeberha, South Africa, March 29. (© Lulama Zenzile / Die Burger / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

African development leaders welcome international investment as a step towards supporting the $ 425 billion the International Monetary Fund needs to fight the pandemic and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We know that the private sector will play a major role in financing Africa’s future by creating millions of jobs essential to ensure sustained economic growth and poverty reduction,” said Makhtar Diop, Director General of the International Finance Corporation, member of the World Bank Group.

The DFC and its partners, the African Union, France and Germany, are already strengthening the production and distribution of vaccines in Africa. On June 30, they announced a $ 700 million investment in Africa’s largest pharmaceutical company, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited.

The funding will allow the South African company to produce up to 500 million doses of US producer Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine by 2022 for distribution through the African Union, the South African government and COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), an international partnership dedicated to the equitable distribution of vaccines. Aspen released its first batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines on July 26.

The US government, along with African and European development partners, is also helping the Institut Pasteur de Dakar to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines in Dakar, Senegal, and strengthen health security in Africa.

In addition, the United States is currently providing 25 million doses of vaccine to African countries as part of the initial 80 million doses promised by President Biden. In June, Biden announced that the United States would purchase an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine for distribution to low- and middle-income countries.

“The United States is committed to sustainably building vaccine manufacturing capacity and access to vaccines in Africa, while taking bold and immediate steps to help African countries fight COVID-19,” said the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power.

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