By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced the creation of a COVID-19 Response Facility of up to $10 billion to assist Nigeria and other regional member countries in fighting the pandemic.
The bank disclosed in a press release issued by the bank, which explained that the facility is the latest measure taken to respond to the pandemic, adding that it will be the institution’s primary channel for its efforts to address the crisis.
It added that the $10 billion facility will be extended to both governments and the private sector across the continent.
According to Mr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB Group, 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. This Facility will help African countries to fast-track their efforts to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19,” Mr Adesina said, commending the Board of Directors for its unwavering support.
The Facility entails $5.5 billion for sovereign operations in African Development Bank countries, $3.1 billion for sovereign and regional operations for countries under the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional arm that caters to fragile countries.
The Bank also noted that an additional $1.35 billion will be devoted to private sector operations.
Two weeks ago, the bank launched a first of its kind $3 billion Fight COVID-19 Social Bond, the world’s largest US dollar-denominated social bond ever on the international capital market and last week, the Board of Directors also approved a $2 million grant for the World Health Organization (WHO) for its efforts on the continent.
Commenting on this, Mr Adesina said, “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.”
Speaking on the Facility, the Acting Senior Vice-President, Ms Swazi Tshabalala said, “The setting up of the Facility required a collective effort and courage by all our staff, Board of Directors and our shareholders.”
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