The Treasury and the World Bank have said in a joint statement that more can be done to increase vaccine coverage in South Africa and boost the country’s economic recovery.
By Monday, more than 36.4m doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered, while just more than 50% of the country’s adults, and 29.9% of 12 to 17-year-olds, had been vaccinated.
After the government appealed for assistance, and in efforts to help fund the purchase of vaccines, the World Bank has now approved a €454.4m (~R7.6bn) low-interest loan to South Africa that will retroactively be used to finance the acquisition of 47m COVID-19 vaccine doses, reports News24.
“The loan forms part of government efforts to reduce debt service costs by using cheaper sources of funding through multilateral development banks, while supporting the health system to respond to COVID-19 through the roll-out of vaccines, critical research, and treatment,” said acting Treasury director-general Ismail Momoniat.
Marie Françoise Marie Nelly, the World Bank’s country director for South Africa, said: “This project builds on our new World Bank Group country partnership framework 2022-2026, jointly developed with the government in July 2021 to help stimulate investment and job creation.”
In January, the World Bank approved SA’s request for a $750m loan to support implementation of its economic reconstruction and recovery plan in the wake of COVID-19.
And in 2020, the International Monetary Fund granted SA a $4.3bn loan to support job creation and protection for businesses affected by the pandemic.
This was followed by a $1bn loan from the New Development Bank (NDB) in 2021. The NDB is a development finance institution established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA as part of the BRICS grouping.
See more from MedicalBrief archives: