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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Central American Bank approves $80 million to finance vaccines in Costa Rica

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) approved financing of $80 million for the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19 in Costa Rica, the financial institution announced Monday.

The funds are earmarked “for the acquisition, equipment and application of vaccines against Covid-19 to 72% of its population,” CABEI said in a press release.

Before Costa Rica receives the financing, it must be approved by the Legislative Assembly. CABEI says the loan has a 20-year term and five-year grace period but didn’t share the interest rate.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has represented a health and economic setback for the whole world. Through this financing with CABEI, we will be exchanging expensive debt for cheap debt that will allow us to protect the health of the Costa Rican population and also protect the country’s public finances,” said President Carlos Alvarado, as quoted by CABEI. 

President Alvarado said this debt restructuring will save Costa Rica $2.7 million annually.

Dante Mossi, CABEI’s executive president, has stressed it is necessary to support large projects such as the Costa Rican interurban train, regional electrical interconnection, and financial support for governments and businesses in the region with a view to post-pandemic economic recovery.

“We reaffirm our commitment as the Central American bank supporting the efforts of our partner countries to combat the pandemic. We understand that this financing will impact more than 3.7 million inhabitants, thus managing to immunize a large majority of the Costa Rican population,” Mossi said.

Costa Rica hopes to vaccinate at least 3.5 million people by the end of 2021. As of May 24, the latest available data, the country had administered 1.45 million vaccines.

Costa Rica has contracts with Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and through the Covax facility for Covid-19 vaccines.

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