The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in countries where it has a presence, including its headquarters in Abidjan.
The measures include; telecommuting, video conferencing in lieu of physical meetings, the suspension of visits to bank buildings, and the cancellation of all travel, meetings, and conferences, until further notice.
AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina made the announcements at a bank-wide virtual Town Hall meeting from the institution’s headquarters in Abidjan.
He stated that the measures were being taken in the best interest of public health and safety.
“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,” Adesina said.
He said all efforts were being made to ensure continuity of the Bank’s operations including; electronic documentation and approvals.
All Bank staff worked from home on Wednesday to test-run IT systems
The Bank has already taken several other steps to counter an escalation of the virus, including; a 14-day self-quarantine for employees returning from high-risk countries.
Other multilateral institutions in Asia, Europe, and Latin America have taken similar actions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, the Bank has closely monitored the situation through its medical centre, emergency management team, and its operational and executive crisis committees.
Staff have regularly been provided with medical guidance and preventive measures are in place to protect staff and families from contamination by the virus.
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 in the event of an escalation of the situation on the continent.
“Please do not panic. Measures are being taken. The situation deserves that we change how we work and where we work from,” Adesina said.
The Bank’s Board of Directors is reviewing the configuration and design of the Bank’s statutory Annual Meetings originally scheduled for May 26-29, 2020 in Abidjan.