By Mandla Zibi
African Development Fund has approved $9.52 million for COVID-19 response in East and Horn of Africa and the Comoros.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF) have approved grants totaling $9.52 million to strengthen responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in East Africa and the Horn, as well as the Comoros.
The grant, approved on 26 June, is part of the $10 billion COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility (CRF) approved by the Board of Directors earlier this year. The funding complements the African Development Bank’s direct support to regional member countries across the continent.
The beneficiaries are Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The money will also aid in the procurement of essential medical supplies, including testing kits and the training of health workers.
“The overall objective is to reduce the incidence and mortality in the Eastern African region due to COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks,” said Martha Phiri: Director for Human and Social Development.
The East African Community’s (EAC) Secretariat will receive $8.79 million in tranches of $8.16 million and $629,582 while $729, 581 will go to IGAD.
The World Health Organization will be the implementing agency for the emergency response activities in the EAC and IGAD member states, including the Comoros, while the RECs will be directly responsible for executing the cross-border interventions.
Countries in Eastern and the Horn of Africa are enforcing stringent border measures to mitigate the cross-border transmissions that have led to disruptions in the movement of people, trade flows and access to essential goods.
The project will therefore tackle these challenges by improving testing and the capacity for case detection at border crossings. It is expected to improve regional coordination as well.
The initiative will also support EAC and IGAD to roll out regional COVID-19 digital tracking systems to facilitate cross-border surveillance. This will make the regional bodies better prepared to counter cross- border transmissions during future pandemics.
The grants align with the Bank’s High 5 priority commitments, specifically the improvement of African lives, and the advancement of regional integration. The financing also strongly aligns with the Eastern Africa Regional Strategy Paper, which calls for enhanced cooperation in managing regional public goods.
As of 28 June, the total confirmed cases in the 11 mainland countries of the region stood at 42,000, while the island nation of Comoros reported 265 cases out of a population of 800,000.