The African Development Bank (AfDB) has warned that the Nigerian economy and those of other African countries will continue to remain in jeopardy if the availability of COVID-19 vaccines is not addressed.
The President of the bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, gave the warning on Saturday while addressing the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in Accra, Ghana.
He pointed out the financial risk the menace of ‘unconquered’ COVID-19 pandemic poses to the continent, especially the West African sub-region.
Adesina emphasised the need for Africa to create a safeguard against future outbreaks and take the challenge to start the production of its own vaccines for various ailments, including COVID-19.
The AfDB boss stressed the need for African leaders to immediately embark on activities and investments that will strengthen the health sector.
He said the AfDB would ramp up support for Africa to produce vaccines, adding that the bank would commit $3billion to the development of the pharmaceutical industry on the continent.
Adesina, who raised the alarm over the alarming debt challenge of the African continent and called attention to the situation in the West African sub-region.
As part of measures to address the crisis of debts, he said low-income West African countries would need as much as $245billion to fix.
He said, “The African Development Bank projects for Africa GDP growth will rebound to 3.4 percent this year. The West Africa GDP growth is projected to recover from -1.5 percent in 2020 to 2.8 percent in 2021 and 3.9 percent in 2022.
“But the rebound will depend on access to vaccines. Africa should not be begging for vaccines, the continent should be producing vaccines.
“It is now time to rapidly build a healthcare defense system for Africa to tackle this and future pandemics. The African Development Bank plans to invest in building quality healthcare infrastructure in Africa.”