COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team
The COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) was established to support the Africa Vaccine Strategy and endorsed by the African Union Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20 August 2020. The AVATT seeks to complement the ACT Accelerator’s COVAX pillar by securing vaccine doses for 15% of the African population and with a view to increase this figure until the target of 60% herd immunity is achieved.
This note summarizes information obtained from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Afreximbank on AVATT, which illustrates the potential for regional initiatives to boost access to medical countermeasures.
The AVATT works collaboratively with key regional and international partners to achieve its mandated objectives:
- The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust is a Special Purpose Vehicle that serves as a central entity for the negotiation, procurement and payment for vaccines. It also acts as the interface between AU Member States and the vaccine manufacturers.
- The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) serves as the secretariat to the AVATT and offers scientific guidance. The Africa CDC also reviews documentation from vaccine suppliers and provides guidance to the national regulatory bodies on Emergency Use Authorization.
- The African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) was mandated by the AVATT to support the ordering and allocation process for the vaccine procurement mechanism. The AMSP is a not-for-profit initiative launched by the AU as an immediate, integrated and practical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to facilitate access to an African & global base of vetted manufacturers and enables Africa Union Member States to purchase certified medical equipment such as diagnostic kits, personal protection equipment, and clinical management devices with increased cost effectiveness and transparency.
- The Afreximbank was mandated by the AU to urgently put in place financing mechanisms and instruments to achieve the vaccination target of 60% of the African continent’s population and to support post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Under the AVATT, Afreximbank plays the role of financial and transaction adviser, partaking in negotiations with vaccine suppliers, and facilitating payments.
- The Afreximbank has supported the AVATT by putting in place a US$2 billion Advance Procurement Commitment Guarantee Facility (APC). The APC aims to ensure (1) timely, equitable and cost-effective availability of COVID-19 vaccine supplies within the African continent, (2) providing a credible platform around which a blend of funding to support Africa’s vaccine procurement requirements, and (3) providing assurance to vaccine manufacturers that orders placed by the AMSP are firm and will be paid for.
- The Afreximbank also put in place an Instalment Payment Plan (IPP) facility that supports countries that are unable to pay for their orders with cash upon delivery so they can make the payments in accordance to their fiscal situation.
- The UNICEF supports the AVATT through procurement, logistics and payment services since it is one of the leading players in the procurement and delivery of vaccines globally.
- The UNECA provides technical backstopping to the AVATT, especially on the economic dimensions of the vaccine access and rollout. The UNECA ensured that the AVATT process had critical information and data to support the negotiations.
- In June 2021, the World Bank and the African Union announced a partnership, with World Bank financing supporting the purchase and deployment of doses secured by AVATT to help countries vaccinate up to 400 million people across Africa.