MON, JULY 27 2020-theG&BJournal– The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors on Friday approved over $261in total for Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Rwanda and Ghana to support efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID-19.
UA 38.15 million ($53.25 million) multi-country grant was extended to The Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the form of direct budget support to bolster efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the three West African countries.
The multi-country grant comprises an ADF grant of UA 5 million and a TSF grant of UA 5 million to the Republic of The Gambia; an ADF grant of UA 10.15 million to the Republic of Liberia; and an ADF grant of UA 18 million to the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Djibouti’s funding will take the form of an African Development Fund grant for $4.12 million and a $37.04 million grant from the Bank’s Regional Operations Envelope. The Bank is providing the funding under its COVID-19 Response Facility.
“It is the first time the Bank is leveraging the Regional Operations resources for a budget support operation. This approach was pertinent to ensure that Djibouti has adequate resources to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in its territory and limit cross-border impacts that pose serious risks for health, social and economic development for the country and ensure adequate controls at territorial borders and all points of entry,” said the Bank’s Acting Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo.
Earlier on Thursday, the Bank approved $97.675 for Rwanda to strengthen its national budget as it works to mitigate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding also will take the form of an African Development Fund loan, which the Bank is providing the under its COVID-19 Response Facility.
Under the Crisis Response Budget Support Program, the Rwandan government will use the funding to strengthen the health system to contain the spread of COVID-19; safeguard economic resilience; and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on vulnerable sectors of the population.
Health sector measures entail bolstering surveillance, infection prevention and control capacity so the health authorities can better monitor, track and identify hotspots; enhance laboratory capacity for testing; and treatment of the severely ill. Another element is risk communication and community engagement on the disease.
The Bank also on Friday approved $69 million grant to support Ghana’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its socio-economic impact on the nation.
The grant from the ADF, the concessional arm of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), will provide fiscal budget support to finance the government’s national COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, and Coronavirus Alleviation Program.
Specifically, the funds will help to upgrade the capacity of healthcare facilities to isolate, diagnose and care for patients, and provide more test kits, pharmaceuticals, equipment and beds. It will also ensure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and support financial incentives and an insurance package for health and allied professionals.
Ghana ranks fourth in COVID-19 infections in Africa after South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. As of 24 July 2020, the West African nation has recorded 30,366 cases of the disease, with 26,687 recoveries and 153 deaths.