Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power on Wednesday announced approximately $720 million in new funding from the American Rescue Plan to expand and intensify the fight against COVID-19 abroad, respond to humanitarian crises exacerbated by COVID-19, and support a global recovery while preparing for future pandemic threats.
Power made the announcement in Addis Ababa where she had gone to call for an end to the devastating conflict in Tigray and to request humanitarian access from the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has pursued war and death rather than peace and stability.
In the United States, 160 million Americans are fully vaccinated. But the fight is far from over—the virus continues to rage around the world and new variants pose a constant threat. Ending the pandemic is vital to keeping Americans safe, saving lives, and rebuilding the U.S. and global economies. Vaccines are a key tool in that effort, and the Biden Administration is committed to that effort, just yesterday announcing that the United States has donated and shipped more than 110 million U.S. COVID-19 vaccine doses.
“This funding will accelerate the U.S. COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework objectives to advance global vaccination, support health systems, and address acute impacts,” USAID said in a statement. “Importantly, this funding will help countries deliver safe and effective vaccines, including programs to train health workers to deliver vaccines, keep vaccines at the right temperature, and educate people on the importance of getting vaccinated. This funding will also help countries to reduce COVID-19 cases and deaths until vaccines are more widely available, including programs to expand COVID-19 testing, keep health workers safe with protective equipment such as masks and gloves, increase countries’ oxygen supply, fight misinformation, better equip laboratories, and strengthen disease surveillance.”
USAID said approximately $445 million of the total funding is for sub-Saharan Africa to support COVID-19 response and vaccine readiness and urgent humanitarian needs consistent with the African Union’s continental COVID response strategy.
“Of this amount for Africa, approximately $320 million will specifically help address urgent humanitarian needs in nearly 20 countries throughout Africa, helping partners deliver emergency food assistance, prevent the spread of COVID-19 through water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, and provide support for children and psychosocial care for survivors of gender-based violence as well as other protection challenges exacerbated by the pandemic,” read USAID statement.