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Billions needed to address the socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 in Africa

[African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina. Photo/courtesy]

Africa needs around $484 billion over the next three years to address the socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and support economic recovery.

According to the African Development Bank Group, President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said that the most important lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic for Africa is the need to build a defence mechanism against external shocks, especially in healthcare and financial security.

Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted Africa’s unpreparedness for external shocks like new viruses. He said Africa’s 2.1% retraction in growth had set it back and threatened the achievement of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Adesina outlined three strategic priorities for an African healthcare defence system: building quality healthcare infrastructure; developing the continent’s pharmaceutical industry; and increasing the capacity of vaccine manufacturing. He added that the African Development Bank planned to invest $3 billion to support Africa’s pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Speaking about other critical areas for the continent, such as managing debt, Adesina said: “Africa’s public debt, currently estimated at $546 billion, represents one-quarter of the continent’s GDP and is higher than the combined total annual government revenues of $501 billion.”

The African Union’s 2022 Year of Nutrition focuses on strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent. With the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank launched the Facility for African Food Security and Nutrition at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in 2021.

Adesina said the facility “will mobilize $1 billion to support the delivery of climate-resilient technologies to 40 million farmers and produce 100 million metric tons of food to feed 200 million people.” He added, “this will reduce the number of people facing hunger in Africa by 80%.”

Adesina called for accelerated action to advance Africa’s rapid development and sounded a note of optimism.