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IMF says Africa urgently needs vaccines to halt repeate...

Newsdeck

World

IMF says Africa urgently needs vaccines to halt repeated COVID waves

The International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, DC, US. (Photo: Samuel Corum / Bloomberg via Getty Images)
By Reuters
28 Jun 2021 1

WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) - COVID-19 infections in Africa will likely exceed previous peaks within days, underscoring an urgent need to accelerate vaccine supplies and financing to the region, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Monday.

Georgieva said in a blog posting with IMF Africa Department director Abebe Selassie that sub-Saharan Africa, already with the lowest vaccination rates in the world at less than 1% of the population, again risks having its health care systems overwhelmed without immediate action.

“Without significant, upfront, international assistance – and without an effective region-wide vaccination effort – the near-term future of sub-Saharan Africa will be one of repeated waves of infection, which will exact an ever-increasing toll on the lives and livelihoods of the region’s most vulnerable, while also paralyzing investment, productivity, and growth,” Georgieva and Selassie wrote https://blogs.imf.org/2021/06/28/sub-saharan-africa-we-need-to-act-now.

“In short, without help the region risks being left further and further behind,” they said, and added the longer the pandemic ravages Africa, more dangerous variants of the novel coronavirus will emerge to threaten the rest of the world.

The IMF officials urged wealthy nations to more quickly share their vaccine stockpiles with Africa through the COVAX initiative, saying that a goal should be to deliver a quarter of a billion doses to the region by September.

Vaccine manufacturers should shift supplies to Africa, while the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team should be financed at an estimated $2 billion, which would allow an option for the group to execute an optional contract for 180 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Georgieva and Selassie said.

They also called for the removal of cross-border export restrictions on raw materials and finished vaccines to help ensure that South Africa and India can reach full production capacity. (Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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  • And so it came to pass, like day follows night. Despite some of the world’s finest virologists, brilliant medical minds, superb facilities, abundance of fine food and temperate climate – the question that everyone must ask is – does this region want to remain at the bottom of the heap, crying foul, playing the victim, holding out the ubiquitous begging bowl or is it going to start making its own way in this harsh world?

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