The island nation is benefiting from the first WB-funded operation in Africa to support national Covid-19 immunization plans and contribute to the purchase and distribution of vaccines under the COVAX mechanism.
This additional funding will enable Cape Verdean authorities to purchase and distribute more than 400,000 doses of vaccine, as well as personal protective equipment, including masks, and other essential medical supplies to ensure an effective vaccination campaign.
The project will also finance cold chain equipment and vaccine transport and will focus on improving health infrastructure with the aim of reopening the country to tourism.
This support is a continuation of the assistance provided under the COVID-19 emergency response project in Cape Verde.
“As a second wave of coronavirus is hitting African populations and economies hard, closing schools and businesses, we are stepping up our efforts to help countries purchase and distribute vaccines, tests and treatments, and strengthen their vaccination systems,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for West and Central Africa.
“Cape Verde has a long experience in vaccination campaigns and is well prepared to start vaccinating this month. This is a crucial step to ensure the future of the country’s population, restore employment and revive a tourism industry hit hard by the pandemic,” said the WB official.
The COVID crisis has shaken the Cape Verdean economy, which GDP is expected to contract by 11 percent in 2020.
In this small island state off the coast of West Africa, tourist arrivals fell by 70 percent in 2020, unemployment reached nearly 20 percent and the poverty rate more than doubled from 20 percent to 45 percent.
While two-thirds of deaths occur among those over 65, young workers are the most economically affected.
“After several months of intensive work and close collaboration, we are very pleased that the World Bank has approved this additional funding to help Cape Verde purchase and distribute vaccines against the COVID-19 virus,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Olavo Avelino Garcia Correia.
“This funding complements the large-scale measures that Cape Verde has rapidly put in place since the beginning of the pandemic. We are now looking forward to vaccinating the population as soon as possible so that we can restart economic growth with an emphasis on diversification and resilience,” he added.
In preparation for the national vaccination plan against COVID-19, the authorities, with the support of the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have conducted an assessment of the country’s readiness for vaccine deployment.