Bank loan

World Bank approves $474m loan to South Africa for COVID vaccines

A participant stands near a World Bank logo at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. Johannes Christo | Reuters

June 14 (Reuters) – The World Bank has approved a 454.4 million euro ($474.4 million) loan to help South Africa finance COVID-19 vaccine purchases, officials said. the bank and the South African National Treasury in a statement.

South Africa has recorded the most coronavirus cases and deaths on the African continent, with over 3.9 million confirmed cases and over 101,000 deaths. He initially struggled to get vaccines due to limited supplies and protracted negotiations, but is now well stocked with doses.

“This project will retroactively fund the purchase of 47 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the GoSA (South African government),” the statement said.

The loan is part of the government’s efforts to reduce debt servicing costs by using cheaper sources of finance in its response to the pandemic, said Ismail Momoniat, acting director general of the Treasury.

As of Monday, just over 50% of South Africa’s adult population of around 40 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine. In recent months, the vaccination campaign has slowed, despite efforts to boost participation.

($1 = 0.9579 euros)

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Winning and David Evans)