AFRICA – African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa’s premier development finance institution, announced the unveiling of a US$10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility to help its regional member countries in fighting the pandemic.

The package, which will be available to African governments and institutions, is split into three parts. US$5.5 billion of it will go to the sovereign operations of the AfDB countries.

US$3.1 billion will go into sovereign and regional operations for countries under the African Development Fund—AfDB’s concessional arm which caters to fragile countries.

An additional US$1.35 billion will be channelled to the operations of Africa’s private sector, which is now one of the middlemen in the continents fight against the outbreak.

Two weeks ago, the Bank launched a US$3 billion Social Bond to fight the global pandemic. AfDB then listed what was the world’s largest US$-denominated social bond ever on the international capital market on the London Stock Exchange.

While the continent’s COVID-19 cases spike, the AfDB’s Board of Directors gave the green light for US$2 million to be granted to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support its efforts in Africa.

On the new US$10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, said the package took into account the fiscal challenges that many African countries are facing.

“Africa is facing enormous fiscal challenges to respond to the coronavirus pandemic effectively. The African Development Bank Group is deploying its full weight of emergency response support to assist Africa at this critical time. We must protect lives.

These are extraordinary times, and we must take bold and decisive actions to save and protect millions of lives in Africa. We are in a race to save lives. No country will be left behind.

“This Facility will help African countries to fast-track their efforts to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19,” he said, commending the Board of Directors for its unwavering support.

Meanwile, the African Union (AU) and the Africa Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC) launched a public-private partnership with Afro Champions Initiative to realize the Africa COVID-19 Response Fund. The collaboration aims to raise US$150 million for immediate needs to prevent the spread of the virus.