ADDIS ABABA – The Mastercard Foundation announced on Tuesday it will deploy $1.3 billion over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent.
The Foundation’s Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and strengthen the Africa CDC.
“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent,” Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.
“This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” the CEO said.
Last year, Africa faced its first economic recession in 25 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The African Development Bank has warned that Covid-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021.
Experts see a widespread vaccination as critical to the economic recovery of African countries.
The African Union has already put a strategy to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population – approximately 750 million people or the entire adult population of the continent – by the end of 2022.
The plan, however, has been affected by the small number of vaccines available in the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant.
Less than two percent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose, according to reports.
AU’s disease prevention agency is calling on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet Africa’s goal.
“Ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access, and building Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own vaccines, is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC.
“This partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa, and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey,” Dr. John said.
The new partnership builds on the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and the global community to expand access to vaccines across Africa, according to Mastercard Foundation.