As Africa scrambles for a share of the Covid-19 vaccine supplies snapped up by wealthier Western countries, Afreximbank has committed to providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers on behalf of African Union (AU) member states.
AU chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, recently announced that the AU had secured a provisional 270 million vaccine doses for Africa 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), earlier this week commenced the Covid-19 vaccines pre-order programme for all AU member states.
While Avatt has secured the provisional 270 million vaccine doses from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, AMSP – the single-source platform enabling faster, more transparent and cost-effective access to Covid-19 supplies – has opened pre-orders, offering equitable access of vaccine doses for 55 AU member states.
But supply of the vaccines is only the first hurdle. 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,” said Dr John Nkengasong, director of Africa CDC.
“For the first time in history, Africa has secured access to millions of vaccine doses in the middle of a pandemic as most Western countries,” said AU special envoy Strive Masiyiwa. “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 across the continent.”
“By providing advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion 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,” said Prof Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of the Board of Directors of the bank.
AU member states can begin placing online pre-orders for their vaccines allocation through the AMSP.