MasterCard Foundation donates Ksh.140.2 billion to Africa’s COVID-19 response

Africa needs 225 million COVID doses to realise vaccination programme

The MasterCard Foundation announced a Ksh.140.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) donation to Africa to help the continent’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Through a partnership with Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the funds will be dished out over the next three years to help acquire vaccines for more than 50 million people and improve manufacturing and delivery systems.

“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” said Reeta Roy, President and Chief Executive Officer of the MasterCard Foundation.

She also said that “in the process, this initiative will catalyze work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy.”

The new deal builds on the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and the global community to expand access to vaccines across Africa.

In a statement, MasterCard Foundation said the number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant.

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The initiative builds on an earlier collaboration between the MasterCard Foundation and the Africa CDC to expand access to testing kits and enhance surveillance capacity in Africa.

Through the Foundation’s support, the Africa CDC’s Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) deployed nearly two million COVID-19 tests and more than 12,000 trained health care workers and rapid responders across Africa. In total, the PACT has enabled over 47 million COVID-19 tests across the continent.

Africa CDC is, however, calling on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet this goal.

“This partnership with the MasterCard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa, and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC.

African Development Bank has warned that COVID-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021. Widespread vaccination is recognized as being critical to the economic recovery of African countries.

The MasterCard Foundation is a Canadian foundation and one of the largest in the world with more than Ksh.4.2 trillion (US$39 billion) in assets.

The Foundation was created in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company and since its inception, it has operated independently of the company.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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