President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has emphasized the need for African nations to develop strategies towards production of COVID-19 vaccines internally.
The president said the bank would support the continent, as part of the vaccines plan of the African Union; through its plan to commit $3 billion to develop the pharmaceutical industry in Africa.
Adesina, speaking ahead of the Bank’s 2021 Annual meetings, scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 23, through June 25, urged regional leaders to focus on vaccine production and access for the African continent as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to take lives and hurt economies and livelihoods.
“Africa needs solutions to help it navigate through the very challenging times posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“But the rebound will depend on access to vaccines.”
Instead of relying on vaccines from outside, Africa should look inward and commence its own production process, he charged leaders.
Adesina also said the recent decision by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to issue special drawing rights (SDRs) provided a real opportunity to rebuild back better and greener, pointing that the SDRs would tackle Africa’s debt challenges, more decisively.
“This will open the way for much-needed relief for Africa,” he noted, as the G-7 Leaders’ summit last week gave the green light for allocating 100 billion dollars of SDRs to Africa.
African leaders, at a summit in Paris in May, called for the AfDB to receive SDRs on behalf of African countries; and to use them to on-lend to African public development banks.
Adesina said it would be important to allocate some of the funds to buy down Africa’s “very expensive debt” owed to private creditors that would engage with the international community.
He proposed an African Financial Stability Mechanism to protect the continent against external shocks.
“It will require that we mutualise our resources; avoid regional spillover effects; regionalise fiscal policy rules; develop homegrown reforms and debt-resolution approaches, and also provide a regional safety net that will complement the global safety net of the International Monetary Fund.”
Adesina also spoke on rising terrorist actions which affected countries all across the continent, saying, “These insecurity situations now pose the biggest risks to Africa’s development.
“We must now link security to investment, growth, and development,” .