The President of the Africa Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, has said more than 39 million Africans will go into extreme poverty this year if there is no help as he called for debt relief for countries on the continent.
Speaking during an interview on CNN on Tuesday, Adesina said the GDP of Africa had gone down by $175bn.
“Last year, we had 30 million people went into extreme poverty. This year if that trend continues, 39 million people [are] going into extreme poverty, hunger and all of that,” he said.
He said the economic outlook was not all bad news, but that any positives would depend on access to vaccinations.
He said, “We project that Africa will grow back. We project 3.4 per cent grow back this year, but all of that is conditional on two things, one is access to vaccines, secondly the issue of debt.
“I think that’s important to improve access of Africa to vaccines. We need to have vaccine solidarity, COVAX is doing a great job but the amounts are still minuscule as far as we are concerned.”
Adesina also stressed the need for global cooperation to end the pandemic, saying, “If we deal with this pandemic in one part of the world, and we don’t deal with other parts of the world, we’re all going back to square one.”
“So far 14.6 million vaccines have been delivered in Africa. And people can’t even get shots in their hands. And that 14.6 million is only one per cent of what we need actually to get to 60 per cent of herd immunity. We are way off mark on that. I think that’s important to improve access of Africa to vaccines.
“So you’re looking at at least 840 million doses. I don’t see that happening for another year or two because of the slow pace of producing the vaccine and getting them out.”
On the need to produce vaccines in Africa, Adesina said, “I can’t accept that 1.4 billion people have to be running from pillar to post looking for vaccines.
“We, at the African Development Bank, have therefore decided that we’re going to support Africa to have quality health care infrastructure and also make sure that it develops its own pharmaceutical capacity. We ought to be producing vaccines in Africa.”
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