The African Union (AU) has announced, on Tuesday, that it has secured a provisional 270 million vaccine doses against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for Africa.
The procurement took place through its COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The AMSP is a single-source platform that enables faster, more transparent, and cost-effective access to COVID-19 supplies.
The move comes as part of the AU’s COVID-19 vaccines pre-order programme for all its Member States.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will facilitate payments by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2bn to manufacturers on behalf of the AU’s Member States.
While AVATT has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccines doses from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, AMSP opened pre-orders on Tuesday, offering an equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines doses for 55 African Union member states.
“Afreximbank is proud to expand its support to African economies in their bid to contain the pandemic,” said the President and Chairperson of the bank’s Board of Directors Benedict Oramah, “Our vaccine financing facility builds on the success of our Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) to open access to COVID 19 vaccines to African states based on a whole-of-Africa approach favoured by the African Union.”
He added that, by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2bn to candidate vaccine manufacturers, Afreximbank will ensure that African States are able to rapidly access COVID-19 vaccines. These will be available at competitive prices and in a timely manner, thereby contributing to saving lives and livelihoods.
To support vaccination operations, the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) has also launched a new category on vaccine accessories. This will help AU Member States to procure products such as ultra-low temperature freezers, personal protection equipment, cotton wool rolls, syringes and needles.
Fatoumata Bâ, Founder & Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital, said “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.”
She also said, “From today onwards African Union Member States will be able to start placing online pre-orders for their vaccines allocation through the Africa Medical Supplies Platform.”
Bâ added that her company is proud to participate in giving direct access to cutting edge COVID-19 vaccines through Africa, which is essential to protect people and reopen economies.