AFRICA – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is set to receive a US$200 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support COVID-19 responses in Africa through private sector investment and finance.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency disclosed that the signed loan to Afreximbank will be co-financed with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial.

Afreximbank is a multilateral financial development institution which has 51 member states in Africa and it has been supporting Africa in mitigating the impact of the coronavirus since it broke out.

The JICA’s loan will be used to manufacture medical and pharmaceutical products including vaccine manufacturing lines, development of supply bases for those products and development of medical and health facilities such as hospitals through Afreximbank.

The money received will be used to advance the development of local production capacities for vaccines and medical products to ensure the African continent is able to tackle current and future health challenges.

Additionally, the funds will be used to mobilize Japanese commercial banks’ capital in Africa which will lead to the creation of a stronger healthcare system as well as a smoother recovery of social and economic activities from COVID-19.

Afreximbank aims to promote the self-reliance of African countries in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce their dependence on non-African products and international supply chains.

Japan funds health initiatives in Kenya

Meanwhile, Japan has financed a partnership between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and three Japanese companies aimed at supplying health technologies to three Kenyan hospitals.

The initiative will support Kenya’s fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases while allowing the medical industry in Kenya to learn about different technologies that are available in Japan.

Under the agreement, Japanese company Kinsei Sangyo Limited has supplied a smoke-free gasification incinerator for medical waste to Mutuini Sub-District Hospital and provided technical training to the medical staff.

The incinerator will protect medical workers from secondary infections and improves medical waste management by minimizing exposure to health risk factors.

TSP Taiyo Incorporated has supplied a PCR testing mobile lab for use in Machakos County Referral Hospital under the deal to improve accessibility for PCR testing in remote areas.

The mobile trailer equipped with solar panels and with bio-safety cabinets will also protect medical workers as it enables PCR testing to be administered in hard-to-reach areas.

Moreover, Marusyo Sangyo Company has supplied photocatalytic coating for use in Jumuia Hospital in Nairobi and Nyathuna Sub-District Hospital in Kiambu.

The anti-bacterial coating responds to room light and eliminates pathogenic microorganisms which reduces infections among health workers and patients in hospitals.

It also provides a cost-effective and convenient way to improve sanitation in hospitals and other medical facilities.

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