The African Development Bank (AfDB) will support the continent to produce its own vaccines as vaccination is key for recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina has said.
He said while a sense of normalcy was returning with average projected growth in gross domestic product of 3.4% in 2021, that recovery was predicated on access to vaccines and the resolution of Africa’s debt crisis.
“Africa produces less than 1% of its vaccines. Africa should not be begging for vaccines; Africa should be producing vaccines! The African Development Bank will support Africa to produce vaccines, as part of the Vaccines plan of the African Union,” said Adesina at the opening of the group’s 2021 annual meetings yesterday.
“The Bank will also plan to commit US$3bn to developing the pharmaceutical industry in Africa. We will leverage our resources. We will not work alone. We will work in partnership with others. Together, I am confident we will get vaccines for all in Africa.”
Africa’s cumulative GDP losses are estimated between US$145bn and US$190bn and low income sub-Saharan African countries alone will need US$245bn by 2030, he said.
Adesina said the challenge of development just got even harder, as 30m people fell into extreme poverty, and an estimated 39m people could fall into poverty by the end of 2021.
He said the bank was taking actions to tackle Africa’s debt and has launched a Debt Action Plan and a new Strategy for Economic Governance in Africa.
The two will support countries to tackle debt, and to embark on bolder economic governance reforms to forestall a debt crisis, Adesina said.
“We now have a real opportunity to tackle Africa’s debt challenges, more decisively, with the recent decision by the IMF to issue $650 billion special drawing rights (SDRs),” he said.
“As agreed by African Heads of State and global leaders at the Summit on Financing of African Economies, called by President Emmanuel Macron of France, US$100bn of these SDRs should be provided to support Africa.”
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said Africa has to move boldly towards addressing these challenges across the continent.
“The surest path towards stability is one where we abandon half-hearted partnerships, consolidate mutually re-enforcing relationships, and develop new approaches that support self-sustaining economic growth and development,” he said.