ETHIOPIA – The government of Ethiopia has secured a grant of US$165.08 million from the African Development Bank to support Ethiopia’s response to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant, awarded from the country’s ADF-15 Performance-Based Allocation, will help bolster Ethiopia’s COVID-19 National Emergency Response Plan (NERP) which also included measures to ease fiscal pressures on the economy.

The NERP is being supported in partnership with several development institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Korean Exim Bank.

According to an AfDB statement, Ethiopia’s NERP outlines a reliable, multi-sector approach to tackling the pandemic.

The NERP also aims to expand social protection coverage for the most vulnerable, enhance capacity to contain the virus outbreak, and address macro-fiscal imbalances as well as cushioning the effects of the crisis on the private sector.

“This AfDB’s support will especially help local businesses and vulnerable households, particularly the urban poor,” said Abdul Kamara, the Bank’s Country manager for Ethiopia.

Kamara explained that the NERP program will increase the number of COVID-19 testing laboratories and train 45,000 healthcare workers in COVID-19 response.

The Program, according to the AFDB country manager for Ethiopia, will also “aid in rolling out a risk-communication and community engagement strategy to raise awareness on transmission and prevention.”

The African Development Bank further noted that Ethiopia’s health system remains weak, with only three hospital beds per 10,000 persons.

The package will be thus used to assist in refurbishing 300 isolation centers, 34 treatment centers and 100 quarantine centers.

The AfDB funded program will also support the government to offset unplanned expenditures deployed to stabilize the economy under the NERP.

 “Funds will be apportioned to protect small businesses in the formal and informal economy in order to preserve approximately 26,000 jobs,” AfDB said.

Ethiopia, along with the rest of Africa, is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is threatening to reverse recent economic gains.

Apart from existing food security issues heightened by COVID-19, the agricultural sector is facing complex and multiple shocks, including the desert locust invasion and climate risks, which pose a threat to productive farmers.

The NERP proposed program is expected to cushion Ethiopians from some of the above mentioned impacts of the COVID19 pandemic.

According to AfDP, Ethiopia’s NERP program is aligned with the Bank Group’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013-2022, in particular the High 5 priority “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”.

Liked this article? Subscribe to DealStreet Africa News, our regular email newsletter with the latest news, deals and insights from Africa’s business, economy and more. SUBSCRIBE HERE