A group of leading philanthropists, investors, donors and technical partners through the Health Finance Coalition is set to support private, small and medium enterprise (SME) health care providers in Nigeria and four other African countries with a new emergency loan guarantee facility of $30 million.
This is according to a disclosure by the Rockefeller Foundation, seen by Nairametrics. The coalition through The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative seeks to unlock $30 million in loans to SMEs in five African countries namely; Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
What they are saying
WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, MCJ Amelior Foundation, Ray Chambers, said:
- “With Covid-19 putting tremendous financial pressure on health budgets across Africa, we need creative financing solutions to help governments achieve their ambitious health goals. The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative, which supports private health providers through a blend of grants and return-seeking capital, is a leading example. I hope to see strategies such as this one scaled up in the months to come.”
The Managing Director, Health Initiatives, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Afisa Jiwani, said:
- “Covid-19 has posed significant challenges for small- and medium-sized private sector health facilities in Africa. Investing in these important health systems can help countries in sub-Saharan Africa withstand the current pandemic while supporting millions of people who rely on these facilities.”
Why it matters
According to the notice, the funding became imperative given that private sector healthcare providers deliver nearly 50% of all healthcare services in Sub-Saharan Africa, which comprises of vital interventions like early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care and routine vaccinations. Therefore, the support is aimed at boosting the capacity and ability of these private healthcare firms in the aforementioned countries to continue in its life-saving services.
In addition, given that the ravaging pandemic is anticipated to affect the income of private healthcare providers in the continent and pose a serious threat to their capacity to provide other services like they normally do, the support is necessary to cushion the identified economic crisis and avert disruption in treatment of other ailments, which is estimated to result to at least 10,000 additional malaria deaths in the continent.
What you should know
- The loan facility will be managed by Malaria No More and loans will be administered through the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a non-profit health investment fund. Loans are expected to average $17,000 per provider to help stabilize operations, buy essential medical equipment including personal protective equipment, and finance small-scale construction to protect patients from COVID-19 infection.
- Of the estimated five million patients that the loan facility could impact, about 3 million are low-income patients and approximately 2.4 million are women and 1.4 million are children, who are disproportionately at risk of malaria and other infectious diseases.
- The World Health Organization estimated that the sum of $240 billion is needed to annually to bridge the health funding gap in order to achieve SDG 3. Out of this identified gap, the most pressing needs are in sub-Saharan Africa, which bears 93% of global malaria cases and 94% of global malaria deaths. Currently, just 1.6% of the annual $500 billion global impact capital market is invested in the health sector in Africa.
- Interested healthcare providers are advised to visit http://www.medicalcreditfund.org/ for more information about application process and other information.
CBN assures exporters of unhindered access to their dollar earnings
The CBN has given assurances to exporters that they will continue to have unfettered access to their export proceeds.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has given assurances to exporters that they will continue to have unfettered access to their export proceeds.
This is believed to be part of the monetary control measure by the apex bank to ensure more dollar inflow and maintain forex liquidity.
This disclosure was made by the Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, during a virtual presentation at Zenith Bank’s 2021 Export Seminar, on Thursday, April 20, 2021.
Emefiele, however, in his statement, urged the exporters to reciprocate the good gestures of the central bank by repatriating their funds back to the country.
He said that supporting greater trade within Africa and the global community is vital to the CBN’s objectives of enabling greater economic growth and creating employment opportunities for the country’s growing population.
Emefiele said there is a strong push for the diversification of the Nigerian economy as the coronavirus outbreak has impacted negatively on global oil prices in 2020, which led to a huge drop in the country’s foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.
The CBN boss was optimistic that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) will provide opportunities for the Nigerian private sector to expand into new markets and seek new export opportunities, particularly in the area of manufacturing, ICT, agriculture and financial services.
He stated that the full implementation of AFCFTA would give Nigerian firms preferential access to markets in Africa with a value of about $504.17 billion in goods and $162 billion in services.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the CBN had introduced several measures to encourage the inflow of forex into the country following the sharp drop in oil revenue.
Some of those measures include the Naira 4 Dollar Scheme, an initiative aimed at giving incentives to senders and recipients of international money transfer in order to attract more diaspora remittances through official channels
The CBN had in January 2021, announced that all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, will be barred from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.
Why this matters
The CBN believes that repatriating these export proceeds via the NAFEX (Investor and Exporter) window will improve liquidity in the official market and perhaps strengthen the naira at the black market.
Most of the exporters sell their forex to the parallel market where it can be exchanged for higher naira value-boosting their gains on foreign currency conversions.
However, it is yet to be seen if exporters will comply with this directive or seek other means of avoiding the hammer on them. Most exporters already find a way to avoid these hammers by opening foreign bank accounts where most of the export proceeds are warehoused and then sold at the black market.
Lagos State launches $20 million Covid-19 stimulus package
The $20 million Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme is to support vulnerable residents in the state.
The Lagos State Government announced the launch of a $20 million Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme to support vulnerable residents in the state.
This was disclosed by Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a statement on Wednesday evening.
Today, we launched the $20million Lagos COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme to support poor and vulnerable households.
This marks another milestone in our effort to combat the negative impact of the pandemic on our livelihood, food security and economy. pic.twitter.com/CckZZ23iUX
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) April 21, 2021
What the governor said:
“Today, we launched the $20million Lagos COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme to support poor and vulnerable households. This marks another milestone in our effort to combat the negative impact of the pandemic on our livelihood, food security and economy.”
The Governor added that the programme will support 125 thousand residents in 69 markets and 2,513 SMEs, citing a steering committee would be chaired by the Economic Planner Commissioner to oversee its implementation
In case you missed it:
Nairametrics recently reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that it will launch a N100 billion Strategic Health Impact Fund for Transformation (SHIFT) to help Nigeria’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
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