MONROVIA — Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah says Africa needs 470 million of doses to reach the World Health Organization’s target of fully vaccinating 40 percent of the African population by the end of 2021.
Minister Tweah said to date, the continent has received about 207 million doses, which is 44 percent of what is needed to achieve the 40 percent target. However, he said, the COVAX just slashed delivery to Africa by 150 million doses, with delivery only covering 17 percent of the continent.
The target is to have 70 percent of all population across income categories vaccinated by September 2022, Minister Tweah says, adding that meeting this target would require an additional supply of 1.5 billion doses, primarily to low and lower middle-income countries a 2-dose regiment. Sub-Saharan Africa, he says, would require additional 775 million doses to achieve this new 70 percent target.
The Liberian Finance Minister said the data a highly uneven and inequitable picture of disparity for the African continent, but also for the world, since low vaccination rates hold ramification for prolonging the pandemic. “Until all countries are safe, no country is safe,” Minister Tweah says, adding that “this inequity and imbalance also reminds us of pre-Covid-19 international financial dispensation of inequitable flows of resource and investments to the continent of Africa”.
He added that since 1960 the developed nations of the world have provided more than $33.5 trillion in Official Development Assistance (ODA). He said ODA should go to countries in need of development, among whom Sub-Saharan African countries are strong claimants. He said: “Unfortunately, Africa’s share of this ODA since 1960 has been a puzzling and merger $1.00 trillion, or 2.9 percent of total ODA flows. This begs the question where has ODA been going over these years, since the flow to Africa has been so minuscule. Africa’s share of global public private partnerships and of investments in general lie in similar abysmal ranges,” she says.
“Reversing these inequalities and imbalances in the flow of global resources more generally and the flow of resources for vaccines more particularly is sine qua non to constructing an equitable post-COVID international financial architecture. This is why African Governments of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund remain united and unanimous in their request for more resources and allocations to deal with the post-COVID-19 challenges, especially in the form of SDR pledges from richer nations.”
Africa’s recovery halted by COVID-19.
Beyond the huge economic impact already wrought by the onset of COVID-19, Minister Tweah said new surges continue to pose significant risks to lives and livelihoods across countries and to impose huge disruptions and costs on global supply chains, further complicating the microeconomic situations of African countries reeling and recovering from the devastations of the pandemic. “Fragile and low income countries are especially vulnerable. While these disruptive impact have been projected to last well into the middle of next year, the world has reached the inevitable consensus that COVID-19 is here to stay and that we will have to find a way to coexist with the disease,” he added.
Africa’s recoveries, Minister Tweah said continues to be punctuated by surges of new COVID-19 variants and by delayed and limited access to vaccines , imperiling the already fragile economic outlook on the continent. These vaccines delays and limitations heighten inherent reinfection risks, even for countries with good vaccinations programs and campaign.
Minister Tweah, Liberia’s governor to the IMF, made the assertion when he served as one of the panelists at the International Monetary Fund African Caucus Meeting on Vaccine Access and Equity.
In his recommendations, Minister Tweah urged vaccine pledgers to expeditiously honor their commitment to channel surplus doses to low-income countries. He also encouraged stronger coordination, transparency, and information sharing globally to demystify the very complex vaccine supply landscape.