With more than 4,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries already imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic, the fragile economic and health systems of many African countries are coming under severe strain.
To this effect, Afreximbank has announced a $3 billion fund to help African countries deal with the economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A rapid and impactful financial response is required to avert a major crisis in Africa,” Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank said in a statement issued last week, adding that “Africa is exposed in many fronts, including significant declines in tourism earnings, migrant remittances, commodity prices and disruption of manufacturing supply chains.”
According to the latest data by the Africa Center for Disease Control on Covid-19 in Africa the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. As at March 30, there were 4,613 confirmed cases, 146 deaths and 335 recoveries. Out of 54 countries 46 have reported cases of Covid-19.
The Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) will therefore provide financing to assist Afreximbank member countries with the financial, economic and health services shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The facility will support member country central banks and financial institutions to meet trade debt payments that fall due, and will work to avert trade payment defaults, the bank said, adding that the package will also serve to support and stabilize the foreign exchange resources of central banks of member countries.
This latest development comes hot on the heels of the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who last week said Africa should wake up and prepare for the worst against the deadly coronavirus and its ripple effects.
“I think Africa should wake up. My continent should wake up,” said Ghebreyesus, who hails from Ethiopia.