By Abdulwaheed Olayinka Adubi
The President of African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adeshina, says Africa may need $484 billion in the next three years to address the socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and support the economic recovery.
Adesina who disclosed this at the opening of the 35th African Union Assembly in the Ethiopian capital, also explained that investing in health is investing in national security.
While speaking, he explained that the most important lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic for Africa is the need to build a defense mechanism against external shocks, especially in healthcare and financial security.
According to Adesina: “Africa cannot afford to outsource the healthcare security of its 1.4 billion citizens to the benevolence of others.
He outlined three strategic priorities for an African healthcare defense system, which are: building quality healthcare infrastructure; developing the continent’s pharmaceutical industry; and increasing the capacity of vaccine manufacturing.
The AfDB boss said the Bank planned to invest $3 billion to support Africa’s pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing capacity.
On Managing debt, he stated that “Africa’s public debt, currently estimated at $546 billion, represents one-quarter of the continent’s GDP and is higher than the combined total annual government revenues of $501 billion”, highlighting that its concessional lending arm, the AfDB fund, had supported low-income countries with $8.5 billion over the last five years.
The Bank Group chief reminded African leaders that they had asked for re-allocated IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to be channeled through the African Development Bank, a prescribed holder of SDRs.