Government has signed an additional US$200million financing agreement with the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, aimed at procuring vaccines to support the country’s fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds fall under the Second Additional Financing for the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (COVID-19 AF 2), which objective is to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19, as well as strengthen national systems for public health preparedness across the country. The US$200million loan brings funds to a total US$430million disbursed by the World Bank to fight the deadly pandemic.
The Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Second Additional Financing will enable the country to explore acquiring COVID-19 vaccines from a range of sources to support Ghana’s target of vaccinating 17.5 million people in a way that ensures value for money. The project will also support an equitable and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in line with Ghana’s National Vaccine Deployment Plan.
Speaking at the agreement’s signing in Accra, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said the funds will go a long way toward implementing a robust COVID-19 vaccination programme; strengthen the health system for large-scale vaccine deployment; and widen both the scale and scope of ongoing social welfare protection programmes.
He further stated that damage caused by the pandemic to the economy will make it difficult for government to reverse it alone; hence, collaboration with the multilateral institutions will be key.
“Through the pandemic, we must continue working toward laying the foundations for an enabling welfare state – one that helps people help themselves and restores dignity to the lives of our fellow Ghanaians.
“Undoubtedly, government cannot do this alone. We need deeper engagements with our multilateral partners to facilitate the provision of the requisite financial and technical support to invest in human capital, build physical infrastructure, and comprehensively tackle development challenges which inhibit attainment of the SDG goals’. At its very core, this will require the availability of bold, innovative financial support to support critical interventions in response to COVID-19,” he said.
In his comments during a press release when the loan facility was approved, the World Bank Country Director – Frank Pierre Laporte – said approval for the funds is to help the country have access to vaccines for the greater number of the population.
“The World Bank is happy to support this second additional financing – given the importance of preventing deaths and reducing transmission of COVID-19 among the population – by providing access to COVID-19 vaccines toward accelerating economic and social recovery in Ghana. We are also aware of the continuing difficulties in gaining access to COVID-19 vaccines and logistics due to the global vaccine market challenges, and will continue working to address the inequity in vaccine supplies that is impacting Ghana and other developing countries,” he said.
According to the Ghana Health Service, the number of active cases of the virus as of July 9, 2021 hit 2,314. In all, 97,728 people have been infected with the disease within the stated period, with 802 deaths. And more than 852,000 vaccines have been administered as of May 7, 2021.
Breakdown of World Bank US$430m financing to fight pandemic
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, government accessed US$100million from the World Bank (including US$65million from the ongoing Greater Accra Resilient & Integrated Development (GARID) Project; US$35million from the Fast-Track COVID-19 Facility; and US$130million additional financing from the World Bank in April and November 2020 respectively to support implementation of the COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
Then US$200million Second Additional Financing for the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (COVID-19 AF 2), which brings the total to US$430million.