World Bank offers Nigeria $400m loan for COVID-19 vaccines

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Sami Tunji

The Board of Directors of World Bank has approved a $400m credit alongside financing from the International Development Association to Nigeria to boost COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

A statement titled ‘Nigeria scales up its COVID-19 vaccination with new funding for vaccine purchase and deployment’ and published on the bank’s website on Friday contained this.

The statement read in part, “The government of Nigeria today received approval from the World Bank Board of Directors for a $400m credit in additional financing from the International Development Association to provide upfront financing for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment within the country. This will be implemented as part of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project.

“The additional funding is designed to ensure COVID-19 vaccination of 40 million Nigerians, increasing the rate of vaccination to up to 50 per cent.

“Building on the government’s plan to break the chain of local transmission of COVID-19 and limit the spread of the virus, the original COVID-19 response programme will be expanded to enable equitable access to purchase affordable COVID-19 vaccines for 18 per cent (40 million) of Nigeria’s population and support effective vaccine deployment to 50 per cent (110 million) of its citizens.”

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, “As the Nigerian government continues to tackle the effect of a third wave of the pandemic, it is crucial it continues to vaccinate its citizens in addition to the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to avoid the dreadful consequences of another lockdown that left in its wake an economic toll the country is still grappling with.”

He added, “This additional funding would ensure that the Nigerian government has the necessary financial resources to keep its vaccination drive going.

“This would mean that Nigerians will have increased access to the COVID-19 vaccination.”

The statement further disclosed that the additional financing would be used to purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccines, boost relevant health systems and prepare for future health emergencies.

“The additional financing will allow Nigeria to purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen relevant health systems that are necessary for a successful deployment and to prepare for future health emergencies,” it said.

It added, “Critically, it will permit the acquisition of vaccines to support Nigeria’s objective to have access to vaccines under the right conditions (of value-for-money, regulatory approvals, and delivery time among other important features).

“This will ensure that the government meets its plans to vaccinate 51 per cent of its population in two years.”

The statement also quoted the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project, Ayodeji Ajiboye, to have said, “Recognising that there is currently excess demand for vaccines from both high-income and lower-income countries, the additional funds would let Nigeria acquire the vaccine at the earliest, strengthen the capacity of all states and the Federal Capital Territory to deploy the vaccines, as well as strengthen the country’s health system interventions such as enhancing health-emergency response capacity of health workers, cold chain equipment, disease surveillance, data management and use, and laboratory testing for the long-term.”

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