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This week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. will donate at least 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries by the end of June, with the majority distributed through international public health organizations. Alongside Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the African continent will be a key beneficiary of the initiative and global COVAX program, which advances equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in low-to-middle-income countries. In terms of vaccine penetration, 299 million doses have been administered in the U.S., with approximately 75% of Americans estimated to be vaccinated in three months. Comparatively, 38.1 million doses have been administered and 53.5 million doses have been acquired in Africa, which is home to 1.21 billion people. Beyond the humanitarian grounds for the donation, the growing role of the U.S. in Africa’s COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout is a step forward in cementing the U.S. as a sustainable development partner to Africa in its own right. In addition to the vaccine rollout, the U.S. has made substantive investments across the continent through its international humanitarian and development arms, giving African countries the tools to not only contain the spread of the virus, but also rebuild their economies in the aftermath.
DFC Targets Private Sector Recovery
The involvement of the U.S. in Africa’s COVID-19 response does not start and stop with the provision of vaccines. Under its COVID-19 Response Program and Global Health and Prosperity Initiative, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) issued a $5-million direct loan in May to Africa Healthcare Network (AHN). The funds go toward supporting the AHN – which is the largest operator of dialysis centers in East Africa – in forging partnerships with leading hospitals in the region, building and operating dialysis centers and enabling the provision of high-quality healthcare.
The DFC – which facilitates the financing of private development projects in lower- and middle-income countries – has adopted a broad-based approach to mitigating the economic fallout from the pandemic in Africa and globally. In addition to extending rapid response lending to new and existing DFC clients, the DFC has partnered with private sector players, government agencies and other global organizations to curb job losses, support small- and medium-sized enterprises and accelerate private sector recovery across vulnerable regions. Within global healthcare systems, the DFC has administered loans to private companies for the manufacturing, production and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19, as well as other communicable diseases.
USAID Leads Frontline Protection
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has also made substantial commitments to Africa both before and during the pandemic, directing $22 million to the respective fight against COVID-19 in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition to providing financing, USAID efforts aim to drive community engagement, expand the capacity of hospitals and laboratories, strengthen risk communication and disease surveillance, and facilitate the delivery of essential medications. In May, the U.S. donated up to 1,000 ventilators and accompanying equipment to South Africa, enabling greater flexibility in treating patients most affected by the virus. With an estimated value of $14 million, the ventilator units followed four million dollars already donated to aid South Africa in its response against COVID-19. Meanwhile, the U.S. disseminated information in Ethiopia regarding COVID-19 protection and prevention methods via social media, radio public service announcements and public signage in three local languages.
Energy Capital & Power (ECP) – in partnership with the Africa Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee – invites U.S. companies, investors and organizations to participate in the first-ever U.S.-Africa Energy Forum (10 July, Washington D.C. and October 4-5, 2021, Houston, Texas), which will introduce American companies to African opportunities. To learn more about how U.S. firms can advance the agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy, please visit www.energycapitalpower.com. To sponsor, speak or attend the U.S.-Africa Energy Forum, please contact Senior Director James Chester at [email protected]