• The transaction was made possible through the $2 billion facility approved by the African Export-Import Bank.

April 01, 2021: In a historic Covid-19 vaccine procurement agreement signed on March 28, all African Union Member States, through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) will have access to 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot Covid-19 vaccine, with the potential to order an additional 180 million doses.

AVAT was set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of president Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa.

Most of the supplies will be produced at the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in South Africa operated by Aspen Pharma. The vaccines will be made available to African countries through the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), over a period of 18 months.

The transaction was made possible through the $2 billion facility approved by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who also acted as financial and transaction advisers, guarantors, installment payment advisers and payment agents.

The successful conclusion of the agreement was made possible by the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), who supported the negotiation process with Johnson & Johnson. UNICEF is also acting as procurement and logistics agent. The African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) was supported in terms of advice on various aspects by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Prior to the conclusion of the Agreement with Johnson & Johnson, African Member States were asked to make pre-orders for the vaccines and many countries showed strong preference for this particular vaccine.

The direct acquisition of vaccines by the African countries through the AVATT initiative is part of the continental objective to achieve a minimum of 60 percent immunisation of the African population, in order to eliminate Covid-19. This target is in line with targets set in other regions such as Europe and the United States. The international donor community has pledged to provide 27 percent through the COVAX Initiative (which is coordinated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO), whilst Africa must find the rest. AVATT and COVAX work very closely together.

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