Kwaku Agyemang Manu Ankaful

Ghana is expected to receive a loan of US$120 million from the World Bank to help tackle the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

The facility is part of ongoing support from the World Bank Group for more than 100 countries in the fight against the disease. 

Appearing before Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Wednesday, the Minister for Health-designate, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, disclosed that government will soon receive the support. 

The additional financing will support the government to scale up its efforts to mitigate the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic and to shore up the economy. 

Mr. Agyeman-Manu also revealed that by March, the country will take delivery of 355,000 AstraZeneca vaccines, with plans to procure vaccines for an estimated 20m people. 

He said Ghana opted for the AstraZeneca vaccine because it can be stored under normal room temperature, as against other vaccines that require storage under negative temperatures.

Ghana presently has over 6,000 active cases of Covid-19 and has recorded 482 deaths. The upsurge in cases has forced many government institutions to rotate their staff, with Parliament, where a number of MPs have tested positive, shutting down for three weeks.

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.

The Group is making available up to US$160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

This includes US$50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and US$12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Credit: Business 24