Interactive: An analysis of COVID-19 funding in West and Central Africa

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People wearing face masks walk under a coronavirus disease awareness billboard during the outbreak in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photo by: Luc Gnago / Reuters

Hit by chronic hunger, insecurity, climate change, and still recovering from the 2014 Ebola crisis, West and Central African countries are ranked third to 12th for coronavirus cases — after South Africa and Algeria — in WHO’s African region.

What will this COVID-19 funding data help you understand?

Tracking funding flows is complex. In these unprecedented times, the Devex Analytics team is tracking and analyzing COVID-19-related pledges and relevant funding announcements directed to ODA recipient countries.

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Donor agencies are not making this work easy, as press releases confuse where the funding is coming from (department, instrument etc.), where is it going (specific country interventions versus regional or global initiatives), and how it is getting there (loans and grants to governments or to international implementing agencies like the United Nations).

The following analysis aims to provide a clearer picture of the COVID-19 funding directed to a region facing the biggest health emergency since the Ebola outbreak. The data has been tailored to focus on development flows: you will find traditional bilateral funding; domestic resource mobilization efforts from global south authorities; and relevant private donations from local and international foundations, philanthropists, and corporations.

Who is funding COVID-19 response efforts in West and Central Africa?

Interact with the dataset 

Filter by region, donor, publication date and more, in this COVID-19 funding analysis of West and Central Africa.

Committed funds respond to two main types of interventions. On one side, direct assistance and relief to the COVID-19 health emergency and social situation. On the other, efforts to ensure financial and monetary support to the affected regions, mainly led by international financial institutions habilitating concessional financial assistance tools and instruments.

Since January, Devex has tracked over 96 specific assistance actions (nonreimbursable) worth $2.1 billion and 35 loans and other sovereign and nonsovereign operations worth $22 billion in West and Central Africa.


What are the most influential bilateral agencies doing?

The biggest development donor, the U.S. government, has pledged over $775 million to tackle COVID-19 worldwide. The Department of State and USAID (including its specific regular programs on disaster assistance, emergency, and humanitarian crisis) have announced $123 million to $140 million in country-specific commitments to West and Central Africa. They are also providing $10 million for regional efforts in the Sahel and in West Africa.

Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the countries receiving the highest amount of funding with $30 million and $26 million respectively in the West and Central Africa regions. Through USAID’s global health emergency fund and the International Disaster Assistance account, the U.S. government is channeling 86% ($26 million) of Nigeria’s funds to tackle risk communication; water, and sanitation activities; infection prevention; and coordination. The remaining 13% ($4.1 million) will help international organizations and NGO partners address challenges posed by the pandemic in refugee, IDP, and host communities, as well as other migrants and vulnerable people.

In DRC, this latter component constitutes 19% ($5 million) of the total U.S. funding for the country. That’s also the same percentage coming from the Economic Support Fund to encourage distance education and alternative education for Congolese children and youth while schools are closed. Improving the prevention and control of infections for health facilities, and supporting improved awareness of the coronavirus, including working with religious leaders and journalists on risk-communication messaging, constitutes the bulk of the funds at 61% ($16 million).

The European Union’s contribution to the COVID-19 response in sub-Saharan Africa is over $2 billion — including the funding from the European Commission and loans from the European Investment Bank. These funds are reallocations from programs that cannot be implemented due to the COVID-19 situation. In West and Central Africa, Nigeria and Uganda are the main recipients with almost $54 million and $32 million respectively.  

The Agence Française de Développement also announced the new “COVID-19 Health in Common” program for the African continent with a provision of $1.1 billion. Ninety percent of the funds (circa $1 billion) will be disbursed in the form of loans with $160 million in grants. While most of it will rely on Expertise France’s experience and management, AFD is also open to working with development banks, civil society organizations, and other players. Out of the six research projects that have been recently approved under this umbrella funding, five are in West and Central Africa and account for $10 million in total.

What are global multilateral agencies doing?

The provision of loans has been crucial for certain countries to better respond to urgent COVID-19 financing needs. For example, the International Monetary Fund, through its Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instruments, has provided direct support to at least 13 low-income countries in the West and Central Africa region for an estimated $6 billion.

It’s worth noting the biggest IMF financing package so far is $3.4 billion for Nigeria — which has been hit particularly hard due to the coronavirus-associated plunge in oil price. As of today, the latest approved disbursement under the RCF has been $226 million for Cameroon.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has been approving applications for reprogramming funding toward health system strengthening. As of April 28, DRC is the second country with the highest budget, approved at $6 million, followed by Myanmar at $8.3 million. Other countries in West and Central Africa that gained approval to reprogram funds are Burundi, Mali, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

The World Bank Group through the International Development Association has provided direct grants and highly concessional loans to strengthen the health preparedness of the countries in the region. These amount to $10.3 billion and are part of the Fast-Track COVID-19 Facility, accounting for 20.6% of the total pledge of $50 billion of IDA resources the bank made at the beginning of the crisis.

What are regional donors doing? 

Looking at the regional contributions, the African Development Bank has mobilized $10 billion to create the COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility. The overarching goal is to lessen the economic and social impact of the pandemic. Specific country provisions under this facility have not yet been made public.

The African Export-Import Bank has pledged $3 billion in resources to help member countries, including its private sector, respond to the crisis. The set of tools includes lines of credit, guarantees, or swaps, among others. Its focus is to relieve most of the indirect effects of the pandemic including high risks of debt distress in West Africa or support to the decline in oil and gas and mining sectors in Central Africa.

The Islamic Development Bank has contributed through several instruments a total of $2.4 billion to West and Central nations (Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Mali, Uganda, Chad, Guinea-Bissau). In the same line, the West African Development Bank has also announced $25 million per member country, which would amount to $198 million in concessional loans.

Who is receiving the funds?

In terms of recipients, and with response experience from the recent Ebola outbreaks, governments are taking the lead. The majority of lended and direct funds are being channeled to health, social, and economic ministries on the frontline of the national response. Most countries have set up special COVID-19 programs that are receiving technical health support from bilateral development agencies such as Enabel, AFD, and DFID.

U.N. country teams in West and Central Africa are also focusing their priorities on the socio-economic response. They are reprogramming certain funds to help resource mobilization in order to meet urgent needs of the most vulnerable people in the region.

In terms of types of interventions, the majority of funds are targeting the consolidation and support of national health systems, followed by COVID-19 equipment acquisition and detection mechanisms. It’s also worth mentioning the communication efforts on the prevention side, critical in containing the spread of the virus.

A snapshot of the data can be found below.

How to use the data

The dataset brings detailed information on the origin, means, and final destination of the funds. Taking into account the scarcely available information in the source of the data, we have worked on structuring the dataset by type of donors, recipient organizations, nature of the intervention, and basic financial instruments used.

Interactive: Who's funding the COVID-19 response and what are the priorities?

See an updated overview of all global funding in the latest Devex interactive.

In addition, we have differentiated the so-called “umbrella funding,” which includes global and regional untargeted announcements with related specific country assignments. Therefore aiming to avoid double counting, overlaps of funds, and imprecise pledges that can lead to biased analysis.

Most of these announcements are in response to an emergency situation, thus amounts can be open to adjustment, modification, or deletion during the implementation process. Finally, from a business development perspective, the announcement of these funds does not necessarily need to relate to specific bidding opportunities, since many are being directly transferred to donor’s preferred partners or managed directly by public agencies. Reaching out directly to the known partners is the best way to learn how your organization can help.  

Access further information on the Devex funding platform by clicking on the URL of each announcement.

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About the authors

  • Arnau Rovira

    Arnau Rovira is the knowledge management lead at Devex’s Analytics implementing information management solutions to the different data needs of the organization. He works remotely from Burundi. Previously, he worked in data collection management in Manila and as business intelligence analyst at Scytl, worldwide leader on electoral voting solutions. In his interest to the international and electoral affairs, he became an electoral observer. Until now, he has been deployed in Uruguay, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Raquel Alcega

    Raquel Alcega leads Devex Analytics, the business research and consulting practice, providing advice to organizations on the latest funding and programmatic trends shaping the growing global development space. She also develops the news business content strategy and analyzes the activities of financial institutions, philanthropic organizations and corporations that operate at the intersection of business and global development. Prior to joining Devex's Barcelona office, she worked in business development in Washington, D.C., and as a researcher in Russia and Mexico.