Remarks Delivered at Conference Session 1: Framework Conditions for Business and Investment
Chancellor Merkel, thank you for your leadership and support for Compact with Africa (CwA) countries.
African countries face significant challenges, including rising inflation and inequality, woefully insufficient access to COVID-19 vaccines, unsustainable debt burdens, fragility, and climate change.
The World Bank Group is a dedicated partner for development in Africa. We work closely with each of you here today, which provides us with strength and value-added.
There is an urgent need for COVID-19 vaccines. The World Bank now has vaccine financing in 54 countries. More than half are in Africa, including nine in CwA countries. We can readily increase the number of countries and the financing for each.
We have partnered with the African Union to support the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). Resources are available for countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa. Eleven African countries started receiving their first batch in early August. This included five CwA countries: Togo, Ghana, Tunisia, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
I want to be clear that while financing is available, there is still a severe shortage of vaccine supplies and deliveries. The Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on COVID-19 – which includes Tedros, Ngozi, Kristalina and myself – addressed this in a joint statement earlier today. It’s a blunt statement. The Taskforce’s data shows that G7 countries have collectively pre-purchased 2.4 billion excess doses, and that’s not counting their options.
The World Bank Group is also working to increase vaccine production in Africa. This is a highly complex challenge, and one that requires the urgent cooperation of vaccine manufacturers, vaccine-producing countries, and countries that have already achieved high vaccination rates. The IFC, led by Makhtar Diop, who is with me today, is leading multiple consortia to support Africa’s regional vaccine production. Alongside Germany’s KfW, we have concluded the mobilization of a financing package totaling €600 million euros for Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa. IFC is also working to support manufacturing hubs for vaccines in Senegal and Rwanda.
The World Bank Group is also helping CwA countries build a favorable environment for private sector growth. The IFC conducts detailed private sector diagnostics in all twelve CwA countries.
I also want to underscore the crucial role of large net positive flows, especially through grants and zero interest rate loans. This can be done very efficiently through IDA. It includes a private sector window that enhances capital mobilization. In addition to providing current resources, a large replenishment for IDA provides preparedness for future crises, as we’ve seen through the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with Germany, all of you here, and all our shareholders, I am looking forward to a very successful IDA20 replenishment by year-end.
Even so, much more long-term capital is needed, particularly highly concessional resources, to invest in energy access, climate protection, human capital, women empowerment, and digitalization, among other development priorities.
Chancellor Merkel, Excellencies, the World Bank Group is a deeply committed partner to you and the Compact with Africa.
Thank you very much.