The Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah said it was a response to the African heads of state request for the mobilisation of resources to address the pandemic.
COVID-19 | GRANT
KAMPALA - Efforts by African countries to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic have received a boost after the African Export-Import Bank
(Afreximbank) announced a $3m (sh11.3b) grant.
According to a statement issued in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday, the Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah said it was a response to the African heads of state request for the mobilisation of resources to address the pandemic.
The request was made through the African Union (AU) chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa who is also the South Africa president.
According to Oramah, a significant proportion of the grant would go to the COVID-19 Special Fund set up by AU as well as to the African
Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC).
"We hope that our modest contribution will help to address some of the immediate needs. We encourage other African banks, funds, corporations and charitable organisations to also contribute to the relief effort," he said.
He noted that Afreximbank was working with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the AU to help mobilise grant funding for the COVID-19 mitigation responses.
Highlighting the need for wide institutional support for the COVID-19 response effort, Oramah said: "no one country or institution will be able to rise to the challenge of the pandemic on its own."
Over 26 African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal,
Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Namibia, Seychelles, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Mauritania, Ghana, and Sudan, are struggling amid limited resources to acquire testing kits and protective gear.
Uganda also set up a National Task Force, through which resources are being mobilized from well-wishers to support the government in the fight.
According to the statement, Afreximbank's grant support is an addition to the several initiatives the Bank is taking to support the effort in fighting the pandemic.
These include the $3b (sh11.3 trillion) Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA), which was launched in March, to help African countries deal with the economic and health impacts of the pandemic.
The Bank has also set aside $200m (sh752.7b) for use in financing the production of COVID-19 equipment and supplies within Africa.
Oramah said that the resource constraints and urgent nature of interventions require significant grant financing to ensure timely support for emergency interventions in combating the pandemic.
African countries will access these funds through the AU COVID-19 Special Fund and the African Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC).