World Bank approves R7.6 billion South Africa loan for Covid vaccines

The World Bank has approved a €454.4 million (about R7.6 billion) loan to South Africa for a Covid emergency response project.

Approved by the Group’s Board of Executive Directors for MondayThe loan comes after a request from the South African government to help fund vaccine contracts. A joint statement from the World Bank and the National Treasury said the project will retroactively fund the purchase of 47 million doses of the vaccine.

“South Africa is the epicenter of the Covid pandemic in Africa with the highest combined number of infections and deaths.

“By supporting the country’s Covid vaccination program, the project will help the government better manage the pandemic as the country navigates its fifth wave and support the government in creating the financial space needed to strengthen its healthcare system and ensure financial and institutional resilience. . ”

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As of June 13, South Africa’s robust vaccination program had delivered 36.4 million doses, with about 50.3% of adults and 29.9% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old having been vaccinated.

However, they say more can be done to increase vaccination coverage, contain the spread of the virus and speed up the country’s economic recovery. Along with the Genomic Surveillance Project, the Covid Emergency Response Project is part of the World Bank’s expanded support for South Africa’s pandemic response.

The surveillance project aims to improve the ability to detect Sars-CoV-2 variants in South Africa and the African region. The Treasury said the loan is part of the government’s effort to reduce debt service costs by tapping into cheaper funding sources through multilateral development banks.

“He is also supporting the healthcare system in its response to Covid through the deployment of vaccines, critical research and treatment measures,” says Ismail Momoniat, Acting Director General of the National Treasury.