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African Development Bank sets up $10 bln in loans for COVID-19 fight

The bank has created $10-billion response facility that governments and the private sector can borrow from.

FILE: President of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi Adesina. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The African Development Bank has created a $10-billion response facility that governments and the private sector can borrow from to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank on Thursday said the package took into account the fiscal challenges that many African countries were facing.

Unlike the $2 million credit line extended to the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week, countries and businesses can access this facility directly at the bank.

Many African countries are struggling to re-direct budgets to fight the coronavirus pandemic

And the WHO has warned that the much-needed lockdowns will add to the huge impact on already ailing economies.

The bank’s chief financial officer and acting vice president Swazi Tshabalala said the bank had set aside $10 billion for COVID-19 relief.

“$5.5 billion is for sovereign operations and then we have the fragile or low-income countries, which borrow from the fund. Through the fund window, we are making available $3.1 billion through and then we have $1.35 billion for the private sector.”

Head of the bank Akinwumi Adesina said the facility would be the institution's primary channel to address the crisis to help countries to fast-track their efforts to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19.