Tuesday, June 8th, The Mastercard Foundation announced its efforts in improving Africa’s COVID-19 response with a whopping $1.3 billion donation.
How will the Mastercard Foundations’ funds be used?
The Mastercard Foundation’s $1.3 billion donation will be spread over three years to aid the manufacturing and delivery of vaccinations for more than 50 million people in Africa.
For the next three years, in partnership with the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the funding will be distributed for workforce training, community engagement, and support for vaccine programs across individual nations.
What is the impact of the pandemic?
Since the beginning of the global vaccination campaign, African countries have had unequal access to vaccines and difficulty administering them. Of the 2.19 billion doses administered across the globe, less than 2 percent of people in Africa have received their first dose of the vaccine.
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC, told the Washington Post on Tuesday, that “We’ve all during this pandemic acknowledged that Africa is lagging behind — and lagging behind seriously — in the battle against this very deadly disease.”
He also stated that “We believe that this partnership will enable us to… win the current battles, but prepare for the next battle.”
The pandemic has grossly affected Africa’s economy. 2020 marked Africa’s first economic recession in 25 years and has negatively affected socio-economic growth.
Africa, the poorest continent in the world, is in urgent need of equitable access and delivery of vaccines. The African Union and the African CDC’s goal is to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population by the end of 22. The total expected cost of this effort is estimated to be around $16 billion.
The significance of the donation
The Mastercard Foundations pledge is one of the largest private donations to date during the pandemic. According to the Washington Post, many developing countries may not have a sufficient vaccine supply until at least 2022, while many wealthier nations have more vaccines than they need.
The head of the communications for the African Union, said the foundation’s gift was unexpected and would lead to “saving lives and saving livelihoods”. In addition to the appreciation shown by the African Union, the White House praised the donation and considered it a “welcome addition” to the supply of vaccine doses the Biden Administration plans to share with the continent.
Prior to the donation, the Mastercard Foundation has played a critical role in helping Africa manage during the pandemic. In June 2020, Mastercard Foundation partnered with the African CDC to deliver over a million test kits, and deploy 10,000 community health workers as part of a $40 million donation in efforts to aid Africa’s COVID-19 response.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation was created in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard upon its IPO and operates independently of Mastercard. The foundation’s headquarters are in Toronto, Canada. It is an international organization with over $39 billion in assets. Since its inception, the Canadian-based foundation has supported work in 49 countries. As of 2018, the Mastercard Foundation has shifted its focus on Africa.