Africa will be receiving an investment worth £20 million from the United Kingdom (UK) to aid in the battle against Covid-19 on the continent.

The investment comes as part of the United Kingdom’s commitment to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and save lives in all parts of the world, including Africa, and will be received through the African Union’s new ‘Africa anti-Covid-19 Fund.

This makes the UK the largest national donor to the fund, which was announced by Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and President of the Republic of South Africa last month.

Announcing the funding on Wednesday, International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, “as the UK faces its biggest peacetime challenge in tackling coronavirus, it’s never been more important to work with our partners in Africa to fight disease.

She added that, “no one is safe until we are all safe and this new funding and support for African leadership will help protect us all –in the UK, Africa and around the world –from further spread of the virus.”

The announcement follows calls between Minister for Africa James Duddridge, AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga, and AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira El-Fadil in which they discussed the risks Africa faces from the pandemic and how the UK is working with partners on the continent to tackle these shared global issues.

The contribution will also support the implementation of the AU’s continental strategy; “to coordinate the efforts of AU member states and multilateral and international partners in responding to the outbreak in Africa” and also “to promote an evidence-based approach for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment, and control of coronavirus in Africa.”

This new support for the African Union comes after the UK has already pledged over $900 million to the international fight against coronavirus.

The UK is also using its existing aid programmes to help vulnerable countries in Africa to strengthen their health systems.

It also comes ahead of the UK hosting the virtual Global Vaccine Summit on 4th June, to secure future funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has already saved the lives of millions of children in Africa from infectious diseases as many countries on the continent are beginning to see exponential increases in case numbers, presenting a severe risk to fragile healthcare systems.

The high prevalence of HIV, malnutrition, and other illnesses in parts of Africa may also worsen the impact of the coronavirus and the United Kingdom through this investment intends to curb that.