"Africa's economic recovery depends on access to vaccines" - AfDB

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, argued Tuesday that economic recovery on the continent will depend on access to vaccines, in a speech to launch the Annual Meetings, taking place this week in virtual format.

"Africa needs solutions to help navigate through these very challenging times due to the covid-19 pandemic," Adesina said, stressing that "economic recovery will depend on access to vaccines."

The bank is preparing a $3 billion support, to the African Union for the development of the pharmaceutical industry on the continent, the banker said, arguing that "Africa should not be begging for vaccines, it should be producing vaccines."

In the speech, Adesina recalled that several times in recent months he has advocated the need to build a defense system for the continent, not only for this pandemic but for possible future pandemics, and pointed to the delivery of $2 million in emergency assistance to the World Health Organization to increase capacity for infection prevention, testing, and case management.

The banker pointed out that the Annual Meetings, which run from Wednesday to Friday, are themed 'Building Resilient Economies in Post-Covid Africa', and will provide a platform for governors to share their countries' experience in managing the pandemic and the policy measures they are implementing to rebuild economies.

The recent decision to channel to African countries about $100 billion out of a total $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was praised by Adesina, who stressed that measures like this are necessary to bring down "the very expensive debt" owed to private creditors.

The leader of the ADB recalled the proposal to create an African financial stability mechanism, which would allow the mutualization of debt issues and thus lower the interest demanded by investors.

"This was going to require us to pool our resources, avoid regional contagion effects, regionalize fiscal policy rules, create national reform and debt resolution approaches, and provide a regional safety net that would complement the IMF's global safety net," he explained.

"These situations of insecurity now pose the greatest risks to Africa's development; we must link security to investment, growth and development," he said, advocating the development of bonds linked to a security index, organized under the African Union's Peace and Security Council.

Africa has recorded 685 more covid-19-associated deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 137,695, and 44,993 new infections, according to the latest official data.

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