Mobile network operator MTN Group, has announced a donation of US$25 million to support the African Union’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, in a unique public private partnership.
A statement to the media said that the donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent, which will contribute to the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group said, “The devastating impact of COVID-19has been unprecedented and profound. Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities.”
On 14 January 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union, announced that the African Union had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of its Member States, through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.
MTN says this was an important milestone in efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Africa’s people. However, with a population of about 1.3 billion, Africa requires many more doses to achieve at least 60% herd immunity. Contributions by private organisations are therefore essential to help the continent reach its target.
Also commenting, Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC said, “Our goal is to ensure that all those who need the COVID-19 vaccine have access to it very quickly, but the biggest hurdle in Africa has been financing of the vaccines, and the logistics of vaccinating at scale. We therefore welcome the right partnerships, like the one with MTN, to achieve our minimum 60 percent vaccination target.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, MTN has made significant contributions to help limit the spread of the disease and save lives and livelihoods within its African market.
This donation is another example of MTN’s efforts to help find lasting solutions to solve the challenges facing the continent and to guarantee a healthy Africa, for all Africans.
“We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure for a successful mass vaccination programme,” concludes Mupita.