African Development Bank Approves Covid-19 Loans, Grants

The African Development Bank approved loans and grants for several nations to ward off the Covid-19 pandemic as infections multiplied across the continent.

The lender will provide $97.7 million for Rwanda’s budget to help the nation strengthen its health-care system, buttress economic resilience and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the most vulnerable people. Under the worst-case scenario, Rwanda’s gross domestic product could contract 2% this year, the AfDB said in an emailed statement.

The bank will also extend $41.2 million to Djibouti, which includes a $4.1 million loan under its Covid-19 response facility. Djibouti, with one of the highest infection rates in the Horn of Africa, could see its economy shrink 3.8% this year.

AfDB directors also agreed on $53.3 million in grants for Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone from the $10 billion Covid-19 Response Facility, its main channel for cushioning African nations from the economic and health impact of the crisis.

Ghana, which ranks fourth in the number of infections on the continent, will receive $69 million in grants to upgrade isolation facilities, purchase more test kits, drugs, equipment and beds, the AfDB said.

Uganda was quick to shut its economy with the emergence of the virus in the region, hurting output. Its Finance Ministry forecasts gross domestic product growth in the just concluded fiscal year to have slowed to 3.1% from 6.5% in 2018-2019. The AfDB approved $31.6 million in budget support to alleviate human suffering from the economic impact of the health crisis and a desert locust invasion ravaging East Africa.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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