The coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively impact all of the industries in the country. And, while there are strategies and plans to open up industries previously closed, as part of the nation-wide lockdown, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy continues to be felt.
Even more in the underdeveloped and under-resourced areas. It is for this reason that the Development Bank of Southern Africa has come up with humanitarian interventions, long-term and short-term initiatives as a response to the pandemic.
The initiatives are designed to address both the more immediate and short-term humanitarian interventions necessary to help fight the pandemic, as well as initiatives with a long-term focus that will enable us to play a meaningful role in the economic recovery of our country and continent at large.
The Bank’s humanitarian initiatives seek to alleviate the hardship and suffering of the country’s most vulnerable groups.
National Disaster Management Centre
A total of R15 million has been committed for the staffing and software procurement or the National Coronavirus Command Centre in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The National Coronavirus Command Centre is responsible for coordinating the national response to the pandemic, creating awareness, implementing preventative measures and the overall management of the coronavirus outbreak.
A total amount of R30,5 million has been collected to provide the Southern African Development Community (SADC) members’ states with personal protective equipment (PPE), which is part of necessary equipment for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed countries, which are immediately affected, include Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Covid-19 testing support
The bank has procured a total of R27,1 million for the provision of COVID-19 testing capacity support, such as testing equipment and testing kits resources to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The bank collected a total of R6,9 million to be directed towards the production of ventilators through the CSIR’s Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Non-Invasive Ventilators Project. The shortage of ventilators has been a global challenge in the fight against the pandemic.
The short-term interventions are initiatives that are being spearheaded and fast-tracked by the local government to ensure that vulnerable communities are protected from the negative impacts of the pandemic, and receive critical supplies that mitigate the spread of the virus.
Our key role in this regard is to augment the financial and delivery capacity of local governments to respond decisively to the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on under-resourced communities.
Mobile testing units
The Bank has procured a total of R26,1 million, which will go towards the provision of mobile prefabricated testing units and the refurbishment of existing facilities in 25 district municipalities in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West.
DBSA’s long-term initiatives seek to serve as stimulus as the country works on strategies to rebuild the economy. These interventions are projects aligned to the DBSA’s strategy and include the Infrastructure Fund, the District Delivery Model, non-financial support to under-resourced municipalities and the High Impact Investment Fund.
Commitment to better lives amid COVID19
The coronavirus effects on the economy have pushed the more vulnerable groups into even deeper levels of vulnerabilities. And this is why the DBSA has committed itself beyond infrastructure development by undertaking initiatives which are designed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Overall, the bank has committed R150 million in total for Covid-19 interventions, and our long-term intervention plans are created to help the country in its quest for economic recovery.