Korea’s New $5mln Support to Boost Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Response

  • Seoul also donates additional $5mln to African Union’s Disease Control Center

ADDIS ABABA – The government of South Korea said it has decided to provide Ethiopia additional 5 million US dollars to support the East African nation’s effort to increase its COVID-19 response capacity.

Korea’s International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health signed the Memorandum of understanding on Friday, said Korea’s embassy in Addis Ababa in a statement sent to The Monitor.

The newly acquired fund will finance the procurement of medical equipment for COVID-19 treatment including diagnostic tests, movable negative pressure carrier for ambulances, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers, it added.

It will also facilitate capacity building training for health workforce on COVID-19 response in cooperation with the World Health Organization, among others.

The latest finance is part of Korean government’s COVID-19 Comprehensive Emergency Response Program (CERP) which cooperates with major quarantine partners in the field of health, the embassy said.

‘Experience Sharing’

The Korean government has already set the development strategy that supports four developing countries to respond to the COVID-19 and to develop sustainably in the mid and long term.

This strategy consists of three parts, which are humanitarian assistance; cooperation with major quarantine partners in the field of health; and support response to socio-economic impacts.

Nine countries including Ethiopia and Africa CDC are chosen as major quarantine partners for this year, according to the embassy.

“Korea is ready to share its experiences and insights with the international community,” Ambassador LIM Hoon-min explained. “Ethiopia is always a top priority partner in its cooperation”.

Increasing support

In this regard, he said Ethiopia has been chosen as one of major quarantine partners this year for CERP.

Apart from various in-kind contributions, the ambassador said the Program would target to strengthen “not only response capability to the COVID-19 but also prevention capability to infectious diseases”.

Korea’s government and its private sector are providing a total of 77.3 million USD worth of assistance to improve Ethiopia’s capabilities against COVID-19.

Recently, Korean EXIM Bank also agreed to provide additional 70 million US dollars soft loan to Ethiopia. Its provision process is currently on the final stage, according to the Embassy.

Support to Africa CDC

Meanwhile, the Korean government announced it will also provide 5 million US Dollars to African Union’s regional disease control body, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Africa CDC.

The money will fund effort to build COVID-19 response capacity of African countries as part of its PACT initiative launched early June.

Through the initiative, Africa CDC is currently engaged in strengthening  countries’ capacity to test, trace, and treat COVID-19 cases on the continent.

The latest fund from Korea will support the implementation of the PACT Initiative by providing equipment and consumables for COVID-19 diagnostic tests, according to its embassy.

It also help strengthen online training program for African health workforce, it added.

Africa CDC launches its PACT Initiative aiming at 3Ts (Test, Trace, Treat) last month in order to boost Africa’s COVID-19 response including testing capacity and provision of appropriate treatment to patients.

Little testing is taking place in many African countries with African CDC announcing this week ten countries account for 80% of the new coronavirus testing in the continent.

COVID-19 confirmed cases across Africa have accelerated and are close to hitting a million this week, and experts say low levels of testing in many countries means infection rates are likely to be higher than reported.

Korea has so far provided a total 9 million US dollar worth of in-kind and financial assistance including donation of masks worth 2 million US Dollars. 

Image Caption: Ambassador Lim speaking with the head of the Ethiopian Korean War Veterans Association after handing over face masks in May, 2020. [Photo File]