Africa's largest mobile operator, MTN, has donated $25m (R380m) to help the African Union (AU) source 7-million Covid-19 vaccines.

Earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced as AU chair that the union had secured a provisional 270-million Covid-19 vaccine doses for its member states. This was done through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to $2bn to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.

However, with a population of about 1.3-billion, Africa needs many more doses to achieve at least 60% herd immunity, highlighting the importance of private and private sector partnership to achieve this target.

MTN said on Wednesday the donation would help secure up to 7-million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, primarily for the continent’s health workers. This would contribute to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination efforts.

In a statement, MTN's group CEO Ralph Mupita, said: “We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure for a successful mass vaccination programme.” 

Mupita said that in coming months it would “look at similar support commitments for the markets in which we operate in the Middle East”.


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