|The Rockefeller Foundation announces an initial US$34.95million to ensure more equitable access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines; leverage innovation, data, machine-learning; combat the escalating food crisis; and scale-up access to renewable energy in Africa.|
Collaborating with 24 organisations, businesses, and government agencies, this pan-African effort will also focus on 10 countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The announcement comes 100 days after the Foundation’s landmark commitment of US$1billion over three years to help end the COVID-19 pandemic and drive a more inclusive and sustainable global recovery.
“Since The Rockefeller Foundation first opened its Africa Regional Office in Nairobi in 1966, the region has remained a top priority for us,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “With this initial round of funding, we are beginning to deliver on our billion-dollar pledge to help end the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and for us all – while investing in wealth-building opportunities for those who have been shut out of economic progress and are bearing the brunt of this pandemic.
“We are very pleased to be committing over US$30million to ensure a sustainable, equitable COVID-19 response in Africa,” said William Asiko, Managing Director and Head of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office. “A significant portion of this funding will benefit the Africa CDC’s effort to accelerate testing and tracing in several countries across the continent. These efforts will allow governments at national and subnational levels to make informed policy decisions about lifting restrictions on movement and thereby re-opening economic activity.”
Closing the Health Inequity Gap – COVID-19 Testing, Innovation, and Investment
The largest portion of the pan-African commitment goes to the Africa Public Health Foundation to support the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC). Announced last week in the lead-up to the Agency’s fourth anniversary, the Foundation provided a US$12million grant to expand the geographic availability of testing centres to both urban and rural areas, as well as strengthen community level tracing efforts and enhance data infrastructure through the Africa CDC’s Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT).
In addition to PACT, the Foundation is supporting a range of organisations working all across the continent, including:
Collaborating to Combat the COVID-19 Crisis and Unlock Access to Opportunity
COVID-19 has deepened food insecurity and hunger across the world and in Africa. The World Food Programme estimates that hunger has doubled as a result of the pandemic, leaving more than 270 million people without enough to eat. The Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts focus on responding to the urgency of COVID-19-triggered food crises while advancing more sustainable, nourishing, and equitable food systems across Africa.
Through The Rockefeller Foundation Catalytic Capital (RFCC) – the Foundation’s new public charity, US$5million will support the structuring and implementation of an accelerator to power agriculture and protective foods SMEs. As the second RFCC venture overall, and first one in Africa, the Accelerator is expected to provide technical and financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises addressing the issues of availability, equitable access, and affordability for protective, healthy foods among poor and underserved communities on the continent.
To build food systems across Africa that are equipped to nourish people and sustain the planet’s resources, The Foundation is supporting organisations like:
For much of the world’s poor, a key impediment to their entry into a modern economy is lack of access to reliable electricity. More than 75% of people without access to electricity today live in sub-Saharan Africa, and the pandemic has caused energy access rates to decrease here for the first time since 2013. In addition, barely a quarter of healthcare facilities have access to reliable power. Unlike traditional approaches to electrification, which has done little to expand access for the hundreds of millions of people in rural and peri-urban areas without power, the Foundation is investing in distributed renewable energy (DRE) that is local and inclusive.
DRE creates local jobs and drives economic inclusion and new opportunities in education, healthcare, agriculture and small business. In support of these efforts, the Foundation is working with:
The Rockefeller Foundation’s Commitment to Reimagining the Future
This is a time of tremendous economic, technological and social change. An estimated 435 million people have been pushed deeper into poverty during the pandemic, and climate change is threatening decades of global progress. The Rockefeller Foundation’s catalytic US$1billion investment to reduce energy poverty and fight the COVID-19 pandemic reaffirms its commitment to building a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish.
As part of the Foundation’s goal to align its internal investment strategy and external values and mission, in December 2020 it announced a commitment to divest its own US$5billion endowment from existing fossil fuel interests while refraining from future fossil fuel investments.