Standard Chartered Bank said on Thursday it is providing $200 million in not-for-profit funding to the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) COVID-19 vaccine procurement framework for Africa.
The facility is part of Afreximbank’s Advance Procurement Commitment framework, under which it has provided a $2 billion guarantee to manufacturers to secure access to vaccine doses for African nations, Standard Chartered said in statement.
“The speed of vaccine rollout is not only a healthcare issue but is increasingly a differentiator of near-term, post pandemic economic recovery for African nations,” said Simon Cooper, Standard Chartered’s Chief Executive for Corporate, Commercial, and Institutional Banking.
Africa struggled early on to secure vaccines as wealthy countries cornered supplies for their own citizens.
The continent had aimed to secure 800 million doses by December but has so far received only a fraction of that.
John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said earlier this month that just 1 percent of Africans had been fully inoculated.
Meanwhile, the continent recorded a 43 percent jump in COVID-19 deaths last week as infections and hospital admissions have risen and countries face shortages of oxygen and intensive-care beds, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
The continent’s case fatality rate – the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases – stands at 2.6 percent against the global average of 2.2 percent, WHO Africa said in its weekly briefing.
“Africa’s third wave continues its destructive pathway, pushing past yet another grim milestone as the continent’s case count tops six million,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, told the briefing.
The surge in infections, which is partly driven by the presence of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus in 21 African countries, is leaving a “brutal cost in lives lost” in its trail, she said.