FAQ: Saving Lives and Livelihoods

A partnership between Africa CDC and Mastercard Foundation

Why are the Foundation and the Africa CDC embarking on this initiative?

This initiative will save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent by enabling access to safe and efficacious vaccines across Africa. Widespread vaccination is key to enabling economic recovery and growth, creating the necessary conditions for entrepreneurship and work, and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

This partnership will also lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development. This initiative will ensure the Africa CDC has the resources and capacity to fulfill its mandate to strengthen Africa’s public health institutions and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks.

The Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works seeks to enable 30 million young women and men in Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work. The Foundation sees this initiative as both a contributor to and enabler of its Young Africa Works strategy.

How much funding support will the Mastercard Foundation provide to the Africa CDC and for how long?

The Mastercard Foundation will deploy USD$1.3 billion over the next three years under this initiative.

What does the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative seek to achieve?

This initiative will contribute to the African Union’s goal of vaccinating 60 percent of Africa’s population by the end of 2022. It will do so by acquiring vaccines for at least 50 million people, and by enabling the delivery of safe and efficacious vaccinations to millions more across Africa. The initiative will strengthen the continent’s capacity to manufacture vaccines through a focus on human capital development, enabling work opportunities for young people.

This initiative will also strengthen the Africa CDC’s capacity to oversee a historic vaccination exercise and to respond to future disease outbreaks.

 What specifically will the Foundation be supporting through this partnership?

First, the purchase of vaccines. The partnership will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people.

Second, the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, including:

  • Procurement and transportation of vaccines, ancillaries, and other supplies as well as in-country logistics.
  • Scale up of COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs) and workforce training to improve the speed and performance of vaccine deployment.
  • Community engagement and communication to promote vaccinations and address vaccine hesitancy.
  • Pharmacovigilance to monitor, evaluate, and manage adverse events.
  • Genomic sequencing to identify potential variants.
  • Technical assistance to national vaccination programs.

Third, laying the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing through a focus on human capital development.

Fourth, strengthening the capacity of the Africa CDC to oversee a historic vaccine roll out, respond to future public health crises, and champion improvements in public health.

What is the anticipated impact of this partnership with Africa CDC?

This initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people and enable the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, saving lives and livelihoods. The initiative will ensure vaccine access for Africa, hastening economic recovery. It will build Africa’s self-reliance by strengthening the continent’s capacity to manufacture vaccines, which will also create work opportunities for young people. The initiative will contribute to Africa’s long-term health security by strengthening the Africa CDC’s capacity to respond to future public health threats.

Why is funding this partnership so important right now for Africa?

As of June 6, 2021, the number of reported COVID-19 cases in Africa surpassed 4.9 million, with more than 130,000 deaths. The pandemic has plunged the continent into its first economic recession in more than 25 years. The African Development Bank notes that COVID-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and has the potential to drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021 alone.

Financing is critical to ensure equitable access to safe and efficacious vaccines. However, the unmet financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines across Africa remain significant.

What is the relationship between this initiative and the ongoing efforts under COVAX and the African Vaccines Acquisition Task Team (AVATT)? Why is additional funding required?

This initiative intends to build on tremendous ongoing work to enable vaccine access for Africa. Many African countries will secure access to vaccines through COVAX and/or from AVATT. These two initiatives combined will provide vaccines for roughly 45-50 percent of Africa’s population. This leaves approximately 10 to 15 percent—between 125 million and 188 million people– that still need to be covered to achieve the African Union’s goal of vaccinating 60 percent of Africa’s population by the end of 2022.

The financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant. Additional donor funding is required to bridge this gap.

What vaccines will be acquired through this partnership and are they safe?

The Africa CDC will purchase vaccines that meet safety and efficacy standards, as set by the regulatory agencies, and will carefully and systematically follow up on safety signals. There are now several approved vaccines available on the global market that have been rigorously, clinically tested and found to be safe and efficacious. These vaccines are being deployed around the world. The cost, availability, and ease-of-distribution of vaccines will also factor into the vaccine selection process.

How will the Africa CDC determine which countries and populations to support under this partnership?

Inclusion and equity are guiding principles of this initiative.

The Africa CDC will work hand in hand with AU Member States, consulting with national health authorities, to understand the status of their access to vaccines through COVAX, AVATT, and/or other bilateral arrangements as well as the support needed to establish or expand national vaccination roll-out plans. In some cases, countries may have acquired sufficient vaccines, but require support for the roll out. Support will be customized to individual country’s needs. Ultimately, the African Union’s goal is to vaccinate at least 60 percent of Africa’s population by the end of 2022.

How will the vaccines supported through this partnership be transported across the continent?

Vaccine distribution is a complex logistical exercise. The Africa CDC will work with global, multilateral actors, as well as trusted local partners in individual countries, to deliver vaccines and enable vaccination. The deployment of vaccines will be done in close collaboration and coordination with each country, and in line with prescribed safety requirements for the distribution and storage of vaccines.

Will this partnership help to create employment opportunities on the continent?

The deployment of vaccines across Africa will require thousands of health care workers, including vaccinators, community health workers, data clerks, coordinators, and other support staff. The Africa CDC will track employment opportunities created through this initiative.

In the longer-term, the Foundation’s support to the Africa CDC will catalyze its vaccine manufacturing strategy, creating new work opportunities for young people across the continent, in line with the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young women and men to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

With the launch of this initiative, is the Foundation shifting away from its core focus on youth employment and its current partnerships?

Not at all. The Foundation remains fully committed to Young Africa Works, our strategy to enable 30 million young women and men to access dignified and fulfilling work. This initiative is an enabler of the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy. Widespread vaccination is key to ensuring economic recovery and growth, creating the conditions for entrepreneurship and work.

This initiative is also a contributor to the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy. It will focus on developing the human capital for vaccine manufacturing and establish the Foundation’s health care workforce strategy to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people to improve the delivery of primary health care services.

Does this partnership align with Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy?

This initiative as both an enabler of and contributor to the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy. The initiative will directly create opportunities for dignified work. The delivery of vaccinations across Africa will require a range of personnel and experts.

The initiative will invest in developing the human capital to enable vaccine manufacturing on the continent. Enabling the continental manufacturing of vaccines will require a skilled workforce to drive, in the mid-term, critical areas such as process design, quality assurance (including the setup of quality management systems to achieve Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and laboratory testing). In the longer-term, this will be complemented by the skills necessary to drive R&D on the continent.

How will the progress of this initiative be monitored?

The Foundation and Africa CDC have established a joint Steering Committee to guide the initiative’s strategic direction, monitor and evaluate impact, as well as deal with any issues arising from implementation.

 How can other organizations get involved in this initiative?

Additional funding is still needed to support the Africa CDC’s drive to vaccinate at least 60 percent of Africa’s population.

 The Africa CDC is the implementing partner in this program. Offers of support and partnership can be channeled directly to the Africa CDC.

Where can interested parties obtain more information about this initiative?

Information about this initiative is available on the Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC websites: www.mastercardfdn.org/saving-lives-and-livelihoods and www.africacdc.org.