AFRICA – African Development Bank has outlined the details of a new strategy aimed at increasing access to health services across the continent.

Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President of the African Development Bank delivered the message during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Health Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja.

She stated that the Bank is poised to play a critical role as a health infrastructure financier by leveraging its infrastructure development expertise and collaborating with sector partners.

Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s Health Minister, opened the meeting on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic had exposed the fragility of the sub-health region’s systems and infrastructure.

The challenges posed by the pandemic have strengthened our collective resolve as a region to build back better, and part of our strategy is to work together as a regional bloc. It is in this regard that we appreciate and commend the support and leadership role of our development partners such as African Development Bank Group in the development of quality health infrastructure across the continent,” the Health Minister said.

The strategy, which is currently in the consultation phase, entails policy dialogue and technical assistance on effective financing strategies, such as expanding health insurance.

Its implementation will help the continent achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is about good health and well-being.

Dunford stated that the Bank was poised to play a critical role as a health infrastructure financier by leveraging its infrastructure development expertise and collaborating with sector partners.

“The portfolio will include investment projects, results-based financing, risk-sharing instruments to leverage private sector resources, debt and equity investments in private companies, and the promotion of innovative sources of finance, such as diaspora funds,” Dr. Dunford said.

Dr. Dunford also stated that filling the funding gap for health infrastructure would necessitate the mobilization of funds from the private sector, development finance institutions, and diaspora groups. “The Bank cannot do it without your ownership and support,” she said.

Last month, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Directors approved a Ksh. 1.1 billion (US$10 million) equity investment in the ARCH Cold Chain Solutions East Africa Fund (CCSEAF).

The funds will be used to help develop, build, and operate greenfield cold storage, temperature-controlled solutions, and distribution facilities in East Africa.

In partnership with conglomerates in the region, the Fund will develop and operate as many as eight cold chain operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda

Further to that, Africa Investment Forum members recently fronted two projects focused on improving the continents healthcare to potential investors. The projects are jointly worth around US$140 million and located in East and West Africa.

One is for the development of a 250-bed specialist hospital in West Africa, the other for a US$45 million WHO-prequalified vaccine production plant in East Africa.

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