Ghana and Africa to receive $23bn from IMF to purchase vaccines

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Ghana and other African countries will receive $23 billion, out of $650 billion Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund to purchase covid-19 vaccines and get more Ghanaians and Africans vaccinated.

This follows a document put forward by IMF staff on a global proposal that targets vaccinating of at least 40% of the total population of all countries by end-2021, and at least 60% by the first half of 2022.

Africa is expected to receive 30% vaccination coverage through COVAX and another 30% coverage through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), established by the African Union under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We see seven key steps to ensure these vaccination targets are met”, the IMF said.

First, it said it is essential to deliver vaccines to sub-Saharan Africa as soon as possible, saying given that much of the global supply of vaccines for 2021 has already been bought up, many countries will be forced to wait until 2022 to get them. So, the fastest way to get vaccines to sub-Saharan Africa is for advanced economies to share their stockpiles bilaterally or through multilateral initiatives.

COVAX has already received pledges for over half a billion doses, but the Bretton Wood institution said these need to turn into actual deliveries as soon as possible to make a difference. Indeed, the goal should be to get a quarter of a billion doses to the region by September.

Secondly, the Fund wants vaccine manufacturers to speed up supply to Africa for the rest of this year, urging advanced economies with vaccine manufacturing capabilities to encourage their manufacturers to do so, especially when demand at home is falling short of supply.

Thirdly, it wants AVATT to be fully financed to ensure coverage of 30% of the African Union population. This requires an estimated $2 billion that would for example allow AVATT to execute its optional contract of 180 million doses with J&J.

250 million vaccines needed now

The IMF said securing 250 million vaccines by September 2021 remains a key challenge

However, it said Africa can count on the IMF as it remains deeply committed to all countries in the region.

“We’ve ramped up our lending to sub‑Saharan Africa—last year it was more than 13 times our annual average—and support to increase our access limits will allow us to scale up our zero-interest lending capacity. And the unprecedented $650 billion new SDR allocation, far and away the largest in the Fund’s history, once approved will make $23 billion available to member countries in sub‑Saharan Africa.”

“Yet the gravity and urgency of the situation requires the global community working together. We all have a stake in this. So, in all countries—advanced and emerging alike—we can reclaim our physical and economic health from the pandemic. And so that sub‑Saharan Africa can resume its path toward a more prosperous future”, it added.

1 adult in every 100 Africans fully vaccinated

The IMF said the vaccine rollout in sub-Saharan Africa remains the slowest in the world as less than 1 adult in every hundred is fully vaccinated, compared to an average of over 30 in more advanced economies.

This means even most essential frontline workers continue to work unprotected. In this context, some of the world’s more fortunate countries have stockpiled enough vaccines to cover their populations many times over.

Without significant, upfront, international assistance—and without an effective region-wide vaccination effort—the Fund said the near-term future of sub-Saharan Africa will be one of repeated waves of infection, which will exact an ever-increasing toll on the lives and livelihoods of the region’s most vulnerable, while also paralyzing investment, productivity, and growth. In short, without help the region risks being left further and further behind.

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