By Folasade Akpan/08059110536
Abuja, Jan. 19, 2021 The Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has commenced the COVID-19 vaccines pre-order programme for all African Union (AU) member states.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the AMSP said this in a joint statement issued in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday.
According to it, Afreximbank will facilitate payments by providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to two billion dollars to the manufacturers on behalf of the member states.
This, it said, was in furtherance of the announcement by the African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Jan. 14, that the AU had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Africa through its COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT).
“While AVATT has secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccines doses from Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca.
“AMSP, the single-source platform enabling faster, more transparent and cost-effective access to COVID-19 supplies has opened today, pre-orders, offering an equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines doses for AU member states.”
Mr Strive Masiyiowa, AU Special Envoy said these were historical times.
“For the first time in history, Africa has secured access to millions of vaccine doses in the middle of a pandemic as most of Western countries.
“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 .”
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank said the bank was 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 (PATIMFA) to open access to COVID -19 vaccines to African states based on a whole-of-Africa approach favoured by the AU.”
He added that by providing advance procurement commitment to candidate vaccine manufacturers, Afreximbank would ensure that African states were able to rapidly access COVID-19 vaccines at competitive prices and in a timely manner thereby contributing to saving lives and livelihoods.
Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC, said that the biggest challenges to COVID-19 vaccine access in Africa had been financing of the vaccines and the logistics of vaccinating at scale.
“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.”
Fatoumata Bâ, Founder and Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital, said henceforth, AU member states would be able to start placing online pre orders for their vaccines allocation through the AMSP.
“We are proud to participate in giving direct access to cutting edge COVID-19 vaccines through Africa, this is essential to protect our people and reopen our economies.”
To support vaccination operations, the AMSP also launched a new category on vaccine accessories which would help member states to procure products such as ultra-low temperature freezers, personal protection equipment, cotton wool rolls, syringes and needles.