‘Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund will help contain COVID-19, other epidemics’
As part of efforts to provide additional support for Nigeria’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and better respond to the virus in communities across the country, as well as to strengthen health systems in the aftermath of the acute pandemic response, Global Citizen and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) recently inaugurated the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund.
The Fund, which was inaugurated virtually and live streamed, last week, by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Finance, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed; Chairman of NSIA’s Board of Directors, Mr. Jide Zeitlin; Managing Director, NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji; Chief Policy Officer, Global Citizen, represented by Mr. Michael Sheldrick; Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr. Babatunde Folawiyo; and the Vice Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, is expected to enable Nigerians resident at home or in the diaspora as well as international donors to come together and directly contribute to Nigeria’s fight against the pandemic.
The Fund will target four core COVID-19 response, mitigation and recovery areas including: supporting the most vulnerable populations; strengthening the domestic healthcare systems strengthening; expanding access to rural and community focused universal healthcare access; and re-skilling and re-tooling for the “New Nigerian Renaissance” post COVID-19.
Osinbajo said: “The Government of Nigeria is delighted that the NSIA, together with the world’s leading international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, and their partners, have embarked on a process to set up a new funding vehicle. The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) will provide support to our most vulnerable communities in the fight against COVID-19.”
Orji said NSIA’s long term infrastructure investment strategy entails creating model tertiary healthcare facilities designed and equipped to international standards to reduce the foreign exchange burden of medical tourism and to develop domestic expertise in tertiary healthcare. He said the collaboration with Global Citizen will help extend the agency’s primary care footprint in healthcare and the Solidarity Support Fund will enable the expansion of primary health care, thereby improving access, building capacity, and enhancing the resilience of Nigeria’s health delivery, especially in rural and underserved communities.
Zeitlin said: “As the SWF of the most populous country on the continent, it is important for the Board of the NSIA to support collaborations of this nature which further strengthens the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The unprecedented challenge posed by the outbreak demands that we embrace flexibility as never before on partnerships with the right organizations to help mobilize support for the fund as well as building sustainable systems in our communities.”
Sheldrick said: “Global Citizen’s ongoing commitment to the African continent and, in particular, Nigeria is motivated by two key factors: The shift in geopolitical power towards emerging markets, and the recognition that developing countries want and need to have agency over their own development, this makes a presence in the sub-Saharan region vital to the long-term success of any initiative seeking to end extreme poverty.”
Folawiyo said: “As we embark upon our work in Nigeria, Global Citizen will mobilize Nigerians, Nigerians in the diaspora, global partners, together with the philanthropic and private sectors in our nation’s fight against COVID-19.”
Aig-Imoukhuede said: “Our efforts must ensure that we are able to envision and meet the demands that will emerge in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is imperative as the nation adjusts to the realities of a changing economy, transitions to a ‘new normal’ and embraces the Nigeria of the future.”