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THE Standard Chartered Bank has pledged US$200 million support towards initiatives to finance the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines for African countries.

The intervention is being coordinated by AfreximBank and aimed at helping 55 African countries have access to Covid-19 vaccines.

AfreximBank said the facility will enhance the continent’s drive to fight Covid-19 with a target of achieving a minimum of 60 percent herd immunity.

The two institutions announced the recent agreement in a statement in which Standard Chartered would provide US$200 million towards AfreximBank’s structured framework to help finance the acquisition of Covid-19-vaccines.

According to AfreximBank, the facility is part of the advance procurement commitment (APC) framework structured by the regional financier in collaboration with the African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team (AVATT). Under this initiative, AfreximBank will guarantee US$2 billion to vaccine manufacturers to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines for African countries.

Last year AfreximBank launched a number of facilities to support its member countries. These include the pandemic trade impact mitigation facility (PATIMFA), under which the bank has disbursed over US$6,5 billion to mitigate and manage the financial, economic and health impacts of the pandemic.

In addition, AfreximBank put in place a US$1,5 billion Collaborative Covid-19 Pandemic Response Facility (COPREFA), working with partners to support African economies during the pandemic.

The funding is part of the Standard Chartered’s US$1 billion financing commitment that was launched in March last year.

AfreximBank president Professor Benedict Oramah said: “We are delighted that Standard Chartered has committed US$200 million to support the ongoing work of AfreximBank and AVATT in helping African countries secure access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“Having an effective financing solution for vaccine procurement in place for Africa is of paramount importance to ensure we are not left further behind in the ongoing race,” he said.

“This agreement demonstrates the unwavering commitment of AfreximBank and Standard Chartered to helping Africa overcome the challenges of the pandemic.”

The financial institution also quoted Standard Chartered corporate, commercial and institutional banking chief executive Mr Simon Cooper as saying the speed of vaccine rollout is not only a healthcare issue but is increasingly a differentiator of near-term, post pandemic economic recovery for African nations.

“We are acutely aware that Africa accounts for under two percent of vaccines administered worldwide. We welcome AfreximBank’s efforts to tackle this and we want to use our US$1 billion facility to help,” he said.

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