Africa should be producing, not begging for COVID vaccines — Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, says the continent needs to start producing and not beg for COVID-19 vaccines.

Adesina said this during the opening ceremony of the 2021 meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday.

The AfDB president said the coronavirus pandemic impacted African economies negatively as countries are estimated to lose between $145 billion and $190 billion in the gross domestic product (GDP).

“The effects of the pandemic on the continent’s economy have been massive. Africa’s stimulated GDP losses are estimated between $145 billion and $190 billion,” he said.

“Africa will need a lot of resources to support its recovery. Real income sub-Saharan African countries alone will need $245 billion by 2030, while all sub-Saharan African countries will need $425 billion by 2030.

“And the challenge of development just got even harder as 30 million people fell into extreme poverty, and an estimated 39 million people could fall into poverty by the end of 2021.”

Adesina said AfDB supported African economies by launching a $3 billion social impact fund on global capital markets and a $10 billion crisis response facility during the pandemic.

He said the bank also provided $28 million to the Africa Centres for Disease Control to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Adesina expressed optimism that economies across the continent are on the road to recovery, with an average projected growth in GDP of 3.4 percent in 2021.

He added that the recovery is based on access to vaccines and debt resolution.

“Now the recovery is conditional on access to vaccine and the resolution of Africa’s debt. Africa produces less than one percent of its vaccines. Africa should not be begging for vaccines, Africa should be producing vaccines,” he added.

“The African Development Bank will support Africa to produce vaccines in spite of the vaccines plan of the African Union. The bank will also plan to commit $3 billion to develop the pharmaceutical industry in Africa.

“We remain highly committed to the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), that is why the bank provided $4.8 billion to support the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat based in Ghana.”