As a way to support the actions in mitigating the impact of COVID- 19, the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF) has approved about $138 million crisis budget support package for four Southern African countries.
The countries that have been listed to benefit from the package are Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and São Tomé & Príncipe.
The overall objective of the package, known as the Multi-Country COVID-19 Response Support Program (MCRSP) is to ensure the protection of lives and livelihoods.
According to the AfDB, Malawi will receive a concessional loan of UA17.87 million and a grant of UA15.03 million; Madagascar, a concessional loan of UA30 million.
Meanwhile, Mozambique will receive a combined grant of UA30 million while São Tomé & Príncipe will receive a grant of UA7.5 million.
The programme which is financed through African Development Fund resources targets low-income countries.
The package of policy measures agreed with Government include strengthening health systems to cope with the surge in hospitalisations and scaling up testing and tracing systems.
Other agreements include the expansion of social protection systems to cushion its most vulnerable populations; and to provide cash relief to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs).
AfDB Approves $138 Million For 4 African Countries
Also, special emphasis has been put in protecting food systems and supporting agriculture producers while specific measures in each country reflect national response plans.
Like most of Africa, low testing capacity in Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and São Tomé & Príncipe means that recorded cases might understate the extent of COVID-19, and make it difficult to plan for a safe re-opening of the economies.
The Bank Acting Director-General for Southern Africa, Dr Josephine Ngure expressed delight over the approval of the cash injection to support the COVID response plans in Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Sao Tome.
She stressed that the Bank will continue to work with member countries to monitor epidemiological and economic trends and support the right policies.
According to Ngure, the proposed operation has been coordinated in partnership with the United Nations, the European Union and the Department for International Development.
Others are the French Development Agency, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.