June 07, 2020: The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $288.5 million loan to help Nigeria tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The loan will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to Covid-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is facing twin crises – a health epidemic caused by Covid-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge. As of June 5, the country reported 11,516 coronavirus cases, 3,535 recoveries and 323 deaths.

The loan is the bank’s initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was projected to grow by 2.9 percent of GDP in 2020 and further expand by 3.3 percent in 2021. But with the advent of the pandemic and the slump in crude prices, the economy is expected to shrink by between 4.4 percent under a conservative baseline scenario, and 7.2 percent should the pandemic persist to end-2020.

The Bank’s intervention aligns with its Covid-19 Response Facility (CRF); Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022); and High 5 priorities, especially “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”. It is also consistent with the second strategic pillar of the recently approved Bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024 for Nigeria.

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