The Africa Medical Supplies Platform, on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, on Tuesday commenced the COVID-19 vaccines pre-order programme for all African Union member states.
The development comes on the heels of an earlier announcement made by the African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, that the union had secured provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Africa through its COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team.
In a statement on Tuesday, AMSP stated that the Afreximbank would facilitate payments by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2bn to the manufacturers on behalf of the member states.
“These are historical times. For the first time in history, Africa has secured access to millions of vaccine doses in the middle of a pandemic in most of Western countries,” the African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, said.
“There is still a huge shortage of vaccine doses and that is why this continental collaboration has designed a fair allocation, coupled with timely and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines across the continent,” Masiyiwa added.
Speaking on the development, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said, “Afreximbank is proud to expand its support to African economies in their bid to contain the pandemic. Our vaccine financing facility builds on the success of our Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility to open access to COVID 19 vaccines to African states based on a whole-of-Africa approach favoured by the African Union.”
“By providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2bn to candidate vaccine manufacturers, Afreximbank will ensure that African states are able to rapidly access COVID-19 vaccines at competitive prices and in a timely manner, thereby contributing to saving lives and livelihoods,” he added.
AMSP has also launched a new category on vaccine accessories, which will help member states to procure products such as ultra-low temperature freezers, personal protection equipment, cotton wool rolls, syringes and needles.
“The biggest challenges to COVID-19 vaccine access in Africa have been financing of the vaccines and the logistics of vaccinating at scale, but we are glad that this gap is being filled by the Afreximbank financing facility. The critical decision now is how to get started so that once we start there will be no disruptions and this is where AMSP will play a very big role,” the Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr John Nkengasong, said.
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