As part of its bid to safeguard the continent and its residents from the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19), the African Development Bank, AfDB, has announced health and safety measures in countries where it has a presence, including its headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The measures, according to the bank, include telecommuting, video conferencing in place of physical meetings, the suspension of visits to Bank buildings, and the cancellation of all travel, meetings, and conferences, until further notice.
Making the announcements at a Bank-wide virtual Town Hall meeting from the institution’s headquarters in Abidjan, AfDB’s President, Akinwumi Adesina, stated that the measures were being taken in the best interest of public health and safety.
Adesina said: “My primary responsibility is to you, to make sure you are safe, to make sure your families are safe, to make sure you can function where you are under the best possible conditions health and security-wise.”
Despite the continuous spread of the pandemic, Adesina said that efforts are being made to ensure continuity of the Bank’s operations including electronic documentation and approvals, with all the bank staff working from home to test-run IT systems.
The Bank, leaving no stone unturned, took other steps to counter and continuous spread of the virus, including a 14-day self-quarantine for employees returning from high-risk countries.
Meanwhile, other multilateral institutions in Asia, Europe, and Latin America have taken similar actions to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to reports, the AfDB has closely monitored the situation through its medical centre, emergency management team, and its operational and executive crisis committees, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019.
The staff of the financial institution, however, have been provided with regular medical guidance, while preventive measures are in place to protect staff and families from contracting the virus.
The bank further revealed that a three-level COVID-19 response plan has also been developed to avert, manage and mitigate the effect of the pandemic on Bank’s staff and their families while ensuring business continuity if the continent witnessed an escalation of the situation.
Adesina added: “Please do not panic. Measures are being taken. The situation deserves that we change how we work and where we work from.”
In the meantime, the AfDB’s Board of Directors is reviewing the configuration and design of the Bank’s statutory Annual Meetings originally scheduled to hold from May 26 to 29, 2020, in Abidjan.