The African Development Fund (ADF) approved this week nearly $8.9 million in grant funding to bolster COVID-19-related control measures in six Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, including Mozambique.
Separately, the ADF Board of Directors approved USD 683.000 in grants to São Tomé e Príncipe, to support the two-island nation’s response to the pandemic and its impacts. The grant funding comes under the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility, according to a statement by the African Development Bank Group (ADB).
“The funds will facilitate the procurement of laboratory and medical supplies, including testing kits, personal protective gear and non-invasive ventilators in Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, all SADC nations. The SADC Secretariat is the recipient and the implementing agency of the grant”, the ADB states.
“The financing will reinforce the SADC ’s capacity to coordinate pandemic response measures, including surveillance and sensitization in the six beneficiary countries”, it adds.
According to the ADB, the SADC countries and São Tomé e Príncipe have inadequate resources and capacity to effectively manage the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a strain on already fragile health systems in the countries, and are now struggling to respond effectively to the fast-evolving situation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the spread of COVID-19 has been slow in Africa, it continues to steadily spread through the continent, leaving in its wake disruptions and hardship caused by economic lockdowns.
The 16-nation SADC region had recorded around 120,000 COVID-19 cases out of a continent-wide total of 325,000 cases as of 24 June 2020. Reported cases in São Tomé and Príncipe stood at about 700, in a population of around 211,000 people.
“The pandemic is projected to have a substantial economic impact on the SADC member countries. For instance, real GDP in all the SADC countries, except Zimbabwe, is forecast to contract in 2020”, adds the ADB.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product is expected to shrink by 3.2% this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, more than a previous estimated contraction of 1.6%.
In its World Economic Outlook update, the IMF projected that GDP in South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, would shrink by 8% in 2020, a bigger contraction than the 5.8% forecast in April.