Kenya is among 12 countries in the Horn of Africa that will benefit from a grant of Ksh 1 billion (USD 9.52 million) from the African Development Fund (ADF).
The grant, approved on 26 June, is part of the USD Ksh 1.1 trillion (USD 10 billion) COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility (CRF) approved by the Board of Directors in April 2020 and complements the Bank’s direct support to regional member countries across the continent.
The funding will see the beneficiaries namely Kenya, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda procure essential medical supplies, including testing kits and train health workers.
Martha Phiri, Director for Human and Social Development at ADF said the overall objective of the operation is to reduce the incidence and mortality in the Eastern African region due to COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks.
“The funds will be used to bolster health systems and disease surveillance, enhance infection prevention and control, and improve regional coordination by the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to contain cross-border transmissions.
The EAC Secretariat will receive Ksh 931.7 million (USD 8.79 million) in tranches of Ksh 864.9 million (USD 8.16 million) and Ksh 77.3million (USD 629,582) while Ksh 77.3million (USD729, 581) will go to IGAD.
Countries in Eastern and the Horn of Africa are enforcing stringent border controls to mitigate the cross-border transmissions that have led to disruptions in the movement of people, trade flows and access to essential goods.
Phiri said the project will tackle these challenges by improving testing and case detection capacity at border crossings and improving regional coordination.
The project will also support EAC and IGAD to roll out regional COVID-19 digital tracking systems to facilitate cross-border surveillance to make the regional bodies better prepared to counter cross-border transmissions during future pandemics.
Phiri noted that the grants align with the Bank’s High 5 priority commitments, specifically to improving the quality of life for the people of Africa, and to advancing regional integration.
The financing also strongly aligns with the Eastern Africa Regional Strategy Paper, which calls for enhanced cooperation in managing regional public goods.
World Health Organization will be the implementing agency for the emergency response activities in the EAC and IGAD member states and Comoros.
As of June 28, total confirmed cases in the 11 mainland countries of the region stood at 42,000, while the island nation of Comoros had reported 265 cases out of the 800,000 population.