EU launches €100 million humanitarian initiative to support COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, will visit the Africa Centres for Disease control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in Addis Ababa. This visit marks the start of the implementation of the EU’s new €100 million humanitarian initiative in support of the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa. As announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at the G7 meeting in February 2021, this €100 million initiative is part of the European Commission’s efforts to ensure equitable and fair access to safe and effective vaccines to all. By joining forces with the Africa CDC and other international partners, the European Commission aims to support a fast and safe rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Africa.

Following his meeting with the Head of the Africa CDC, Dr. John Nkengasong, Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič, stressed: “I am delighted to announce today the start of a new chapter in the EU’s partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. This additional EU funding in support of the rollout of vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus pandemic in Africa will help to ensure that no one is left behind, including people in hard-to-access humanitarian crisis settings. I look forward to an even closer cooperation with the Africa CDC in the future, to strengthen our readiness and efficient preparedness to respond together to the challenges of tomorrow.”

This EU initiative, with a steering role of the Africa CDC, will support two complementary dimensions of the vaccination campaigns in Africa:

  • One track of indicative €25 million in funding will aim to support the rollout of the vaccination campaign in African countries. This will include the support of capacity building of national health authorities and health care workers as well as the support to managing the information and coordination platform on vaccination. It will also address critical logistical gaps, including equipment. This implementation at country and continental level will ensure better and independent monitoring of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns across Africa, supporting Africa CDC’s ongoing work. From a long-term perspective, it would also seek to reinforce national health systems’ resilience to address future epidemic outbreaks.
  • The second track of an indicative €65 million in funding aims to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in specific humanitarian settings, notably in conflict and hard-to-reach areas, implemented through needs-specific activities, in close cooperation with various EU humanitarian partners.
  • A further €10 million is in reserve, to be allocated to any of two tracks as needed.

Background

In February 2021, President von der Leyen announced that an additional €100 million would be provided in humanitarian assistance to support the roll-out of vaccination campaigns in Africa in cooperation with the Africa CDC. The €100 million are mobilised as part of the EU’s Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve. This funding comes on top of the funding already mobilised by the EU and its Member States as part of the Team Europe approach.

In April 2020, the European Commission together with High Representative/Vice President set out plans for a targeted EU response to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic combining resources from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions, as ‘Team Europe’. By 1 January 2021, Team Europe had already supported partner countries around the world with more than €26 billion, 65% of the overall response package that now stands at over €40 billion and exceeding the original €20 billion pledged.

Team Europe is also working to ensure global, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and supporting the rollout of vaccination campaigns, while exploring possibilities for boosting local manufacturing capacity. The EU played a leading role in setting up the COVAX Facility, the global initiative that allows high-income countries to fund vaccines for low and middle-income countries and where Team Europe is one of the leading donors, with over €2.2 billion.

The EU humanitarian support to COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Africa will be implemented in partnership with the Africa CDC, and channelled through UN agencies, the Red Cross movement and humanitarian non-governmental organisations. This funding will support vaccination campaigns in countries with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to safe and effective vaccines. It will also contribute to strengthening the health systems in Africa so that the continent is better prepared against future outbreaks, delivering on the commitments made under the EU–Africa partnership.

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