Africa was shortchanged on Covid vaccines: African Development Bank

A health worker vaccinated a man in Abidjan on August 17, 2021 during an Ebola vaccination rollout on August 17, 2021 after the country recorded its first known case of the disease since 1994. (Photo by Issouf SANOGO / AFP) (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP via Getty Images)

ISSOUF SANOGO | AFP | Getty Images

African countries are “underserved” in terms of their access to Covid-19 vaccines, said the president of the African Development Bank.

“Africa [has] If I may use this term, it was certainly undercut in relation to global access to vaccines, “Akinwumi Adesina told CNBC’s” Squawk Box Asia “on Tuesday.

“The vaccines are not arriving on time, in the right amount and at the right price,” he said, adding that saving lives “is all about timing.”

According to Our World in Data, only 2.48% of the continent was fully vaccinated by August 23, far behind other continents.

By comparison, vaccination rates are 25.31% in Asia and 27.1% in South America, while vaccination rates in Europe and North America are both over 40%, as statistics from Our World in Data show.

“If we have learned one lesson from this, it is that Africa shouldn’t depend on the rest of the world for essential vaccines and therapeutics,” he said.

I assume that Africa will recover after this particular pandemic. The fundamentals remain very strong.

Akinwumi Adesina

President, African Development Bank

Africa “shouldn’t be dependent on others, it should be self-sufficient,” he said.

To this end, the African Development Bank wants to invest in primary, secondary and tertiary health infrastructure, Adesina said. It also hopes to allocate $ 3 billion to the pharmaceutical sector so that Africa can have vaccines and medicines for itself.

Economic effect

The pandemic had “very dramatic effects” on Africa, Adesina said, adding that GDP growth has declined, the budget deficit has doubled and the debt ratio has risen in 2020.

However, he expects growth of 3.4% this year after shrinking 2.1% in 2020.

“Africa still has fantastic fundamentals,” he said, citing rapid urbanization, good consumption potential and a large, young population.

The African continental free trade area is “too big to ignore,” said the bank president.

According to the World Bank, the AFCFTA, as it is called, is the largest free trade area in the world based on the number of participating countries. It is said to connect over a billion people in 55 countries with a combined GDP of $ 2.5 trillion.

“I assume that Africa will recover from this particular pandemic,” he said. “Fundamentals remain very strong.”

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