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The Unfinished Agenda of Financing Africa’s COVID-19 Response

The continent’s pandemic-response funding gap is likely to amount to some $100 billion annually over the next three years. The international community – especially the G7, the G20, and multilateral development banks – must take bold, innovative, and expeditious action to close it.

WASHINGTON, DC – As summer winds down, another wave of COVID-19 infections looms. While cases remain under control in Cambodia, Denmark, Mauritius, and Morocco, they are on the rise in Ethiopia and parts of the United States. Infections have risen so sharply in France, Kenya, and Spain that new lockdowns may be imminent. In Brazil and South Africa, the peak may be yet to come.

Few countries are prepared for the menacing autumn that lies ahead. This is particularly true in Africa, where the public-health and economic response has not come anywhere near matching the scale of the COVID-19 crisis.

So far, Africa has reported more than 1.2 million COVID-19 infections and over 30,000 deaths. Yet only 12 of Africa’s 54 countries have tested more than 10% of their population. And while community transmission increases, contact-tracing efforts remain tentative. Yet lockdowns cost the continent over $65 billion per month. The International Monetary Fund now expects economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa to contract by 3.2% this year.