By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
STANDARD Chartered Bank has committed US$200 million with African Export –Import Bank (Afreximbank) to help finance the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines for African nations.
The collaboration between Standard Chartered and Afreximbank would help ensure that 55 countries across Africa have access to Covid-19 vaccines.
This facility would play a part in ensuring that Africa can achieve its Covid-19 strategy, which targets vaccinating a minimum of 60 per cent of its population, according to a statement issued in Lusaka on Wednesday.
It stated that the facility was part of the Advance Procurement Commitment (APC) framework structured by Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Vaccines Acquisitions Task Team (AVATT), under which Afreximbank provided a guarantee of US$2 billion to vaccine manufacturers to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines for African nations.
Over the last year, Afreximbank has also launched a number of facilities to support its Member Countries.
These include the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation facility (PATIMFA), under which the bank had disbursed over US$6.5 billion to mitigate and manage the financial, economic and health impacts of the pandemic.
In addition, Afreximbank put in place a US$1.5 billion collaborative Covid-19 Pandemic Response Facility (COPREFA), working with partners to support African economies during the pandemic.
It indicated that the funding was part of the Standard Chartered’s US$ 1 billion financing commitment that was launched in March 2020, which aimed to tackle the pandemic by financing vital equipment such as personal protective equipment, ventilators and now vaccines. To date, US$ 900 million of this have been allocated and over US$ 700 million disbursed to clients.
Standard Chartered Bank chief executive, corporate, commercial andinstitutional banking Simon Cooper said the speed of the vaccine rollout was not only a healthcare issue but was increasingly a differentiator of near-term, post pandemic economic recovery for African nations. “We are acutely aware that Africa accounts for under two per cent of vaccines administered worldwide; we welcome Afreximbank’s efforts to tackle this and we want to use our US$ 1billion facility to help,” Mr Cooper said.
Using financing provided by Standard Chartered, Afreximbank is helping to ensure Africa’s access to Covid-19 vaccines by ensuring payment to identified vaccine manufacturers that have vaccine orders placed by African nations through the African Medical Supplies Platform.