Science

Covid-19: the lack of vaccines in Africa is “unacceptable”, according to the World Bank

The lack of access to vaccines in Africa is “unacceptable”, said World Bank No. 2 Axel van Trotsenburg on Wednesday on the eve of a meeting in Abidjan to define the institution’s future financial support to the countries of the continent.

“It is a huge problem, it is unacceptable that only 1% of the African population is vaccinated. This must change and we must do a lot more,” the director general of operations of the World Bank told AFP.

While 70% of the population is vaccinated in some developed states, this figure is less than 1% for the poorest countries, according to the UN.

Johnson & Johnson announced in March that it would make up to 400 million doses of its vaccine available for one injection for Africa, but the first deliveries are not expected until the third quarter of 2021.

“We will provide the funding, we are working on it and we hope to make progress very soon,” Trotsenburg said.

“Vaccination is a necessary step, it is a global disease that requires a global solution. It means that we must fight to help all countries,” he added.

Healthcare workers wait for doses of Pfizer to start vaccination at Germiston hospital (South Africa), May 17, 2021 (AFP / Archives – Michele Spatari)

The World Bank and several African leaders are due to meet in Abidjan on Thursday to discuss aid to be released for the next three years.

This aid comes through IDA (International Development Association), the group’s institution that helps the poorest countries on the planet.

Usually renewed every three years, this time it has been brought forward by one year, to meet the urgent needs arising from the health crisis.

In addition to access to vaccines, the money released by IDA, especially through loans at zero or low interest rates, donations or debt relief, can be allocated to the construction of infrastructure, schools or access to telecommunications.

The annual volume of IDA loans is steadily increasing. It has averaged $ 22 billion over the past three years.

39 of the 76 countries receiving this funding are in Africa.

In May, in Paris, the international community promised to help the continent in terms of health, without making any firm financial commitment.

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