Islamic Development Bank Loans Cameroon $27.4 Million To Fight COVID-19

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has granted a loan of 16.4 billion FCFA (about US$27.4 million) to the Cameroon government to enable it continue its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The announcement was made by Cameroon’s Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development Alamine Ousmane Mey.

“This financing is within the context of the strategic preparation mechanism and the reponse put in place by the Islamic Development Bank for the benefit of member nations to mitigate the sanitary and socio-economic negative impact of the Covid-19”, the minister explained.

The money would be used in the reinforcement of the health system of the country notably through the acquisition of equipment. 

This would permit the detection, the taking in charge and the follow-up of confirmed cases of the pandemic as well as the reinforcement of the capacities of the health personnel.

According to the last information divulged by the country’s Minister of Public Health Dr. Malaouda Mallachie on August 13, Cameroon currently has 18,118 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 with 16,540 patients successfully treated and 401 deaths. 

However, alternative sources including international health non-governmental organisations put the Cameroon count as at August 19, 2020 at 18,599 positive cases and 406 deaths.

So far, the country has intensified the tracing and testing of individuals who have come into contact with COVID-19 patients and it is also undertaking a general testing drive which has already seen over 200,000 people tested.

Nevertheless, the announcement of new loans ostensibly intended to fight against the pandemic always conjures mixed feelings from within the national community.

“We are always told when these loans are contracted but never told or see how the money is used to the benefit of the people. 

“The fear with the coronavirus loans is that they should not go the way the money budgeted for the African Nations Cup infrastructures went, i.e. into private pockets”, declared senior SDF official Ade Cornelius in Douala.

“The problem with this government has always been with accountability. 

“They don’t feel obliged to inform us about how money they borrow on our behalf is spent, forgetting that it would be we and our children who would eventually pay back these loans. 

“Already there is the smell of misappropriation concerning the National COVID-19 Solidarity Fund hanging in the air and nobody wants to satisfactorily clear the air”, added a ruling party militant who elected for anonymity for fear of party disciplinary sanctions.

The consolation here, observers say, is that a good number of persons (including this Reporter) and civil society organisations are investigating the disbursement of most of the funds budgeted to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The populace is hopeful that the truth will be out one day and those found guilty of embezzlement would be brought to book.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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