The African Development Bank (AfDB) says its COVID-19 emergency packages have reached five geographic regions in Africa.
The AfDB’s Communications and External Relations Department made this known in a statement on Saturday.
The bank explained that before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, West Africa was home to at least four of the continent’s fastest-growing economies, and it had felt the impact of the disease hard, as borders remained closed and economic and social distress deepened.
“Gambia, Mali and Niger will benefit from an ECOWAS support package to bolster national health systems in response to the pandemic. Much of the funds to this region will seek to address shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other emergency equipment.
“The support will also enable governments to provide shortfall cash to the millions of people who have been affected by mass layoffs or are unable to work because of lockdowns.
“In the packages, Nigeria has 288.5 million euros, Senegal 88 million euros, Cote d’Ivoire 75 million euros, Cabo Verde 30 million euros and ECOWAS 22 million dollars.
“In the North African region, the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 60,000 cases as at 12 June. The disease has already triggered a sharp drop in household incomes in North Africa, as export and tourism earnings suffer.
“The region will be assisted with a series of emergency operations to boost containment measures and help to ensure the supply and distribution of laboratory tests and reagents. The package will also support national and regional coordination mechanisms.
“In the region, Morocco will get 264 million euros, Tunisia 180 million euros and Egypt 500,000 dollars.
“In East Africa, the continent’s fastest-growing region economically has been simultaneously struck by the coronavirus outbreak and an infestation of desert locusts, a double whammy for the region’s farmers and economies.
“In a region of climate change and water scarcity, post-harvest losses and poorly developed agricultural markets could threaten the promise of economic reforms and investment.
“Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda are the top-performing countries, which have all seen a sharp fall in tourism revenue. Kenya has 188 million euros” the bank said.
AfDB disclosed that measures had been taken across the South African region to contain the pandemic, which had affected millions of people, many of whom work in the informal economy.
It added that assistance to this region came in the form of preventive and protection measures as well as financial assistance to the vulnerable beyond the end of the epidemic.
According to the bank, Mauritius will get 188 million euros while Zimbabwe receives 13.7 million dollars.
The AfDB stated that in Central Africa, the package approved for this region, was 13.5 million dollars, which would target the provision of PPE, testing kits and healthcare and laboratory facilities.
It said the beneficiaries were Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, which is among the countries with the least number of ventilators on the continent and CEMAC/RDC had 13.5 million dollars.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Bank announced a COVID-19 Response Facility that would provide up to 10 billion dollars to African governments and the private sector to tackle the disease and mitigate suffering from the economic downturn and job losses.