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The Solidarity Fund may have downscaled its operations, but it leaves behind a legacy of partnerships that helped to proactively address the impacts of Covid-19, says Old Mutual.


Johannesburg, South Africa (21 November 2022) – The Solidarity Fund, established to provide a rapid response to the Covid-19 pandemic, announced that it would downscale its operations in September this year. However, it remains an example of what can be achieved when businesses and organisations work together towards a common cause, says Old Mutual, which processed more than 3,000 transactions, totalling R4.8 billion in payments, on behalf of the Fund.

Old Mutual fully supported The Solidarity Fund since the public-benefit organisation was launched in March 2020 to help tackle the effects of the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund, together with the support it received from business and other organisations, enabled the nation to adopt a sharply focused, strategic approach to the pandemic that supplemented the efforts of government, says Andrew McPherson, Head of Balance Sheet Management at Old Mutual.

“We contributed significantly to the Fund in terms of payments and advice. Old Mutual set up systems and processes that provided donors with the assurance that their funds would flow to initiatives that would support South Africa in fighting the virus, especially the vulnerable in our community.

“Old Mutual played a key role in structuring solutions that ensured the timeous payment to suppliers. A noteworthy example was securing the first batch of vaccines for the country by meeting the payment terms of the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) initiative.

This worldwide collaboration between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, worked to ensure the fair distribution of and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The partnership between government, the Solidarity Fund, Old Mutual and other stakeholders effectively enabled the arrival of the first batch of vaccines in the country.

“Our support of the Fund included day-to-day administration such as overseeing the call centre, onboarding of corporate donors, opening accounts, daily forecasting and monitoring deposits and payments. Paying of foreign commitments meant that processing had to meet tight deadlines to ensure that South Africa would have access to vaccines as they became available as well as access to critical equipment required in the fight against Covid,” says McPherson.

“Old Mutual has a proud history of supporting vulnerable communities and working with partners to address social issues and emergencies, so when the Fund approached us to fill the central financial coordinating partner role, we willingly took on the responsibility to volunteer our skills.

“Although the danger that Covid-19 posed for societies and economies has receded, the Group will continue to be available to assist with easing the impact of disasters such as the pandemic, the civil unrest of July 2021 and the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal,” McPherson concluded.

Old Mutual is proud of the role we were able to play in supporting South Africa in the fight against the virus. We are deeply grateful to all South Africans for standing together and also playing their part in helping the country through an enormously challenging time in our country’s history.

Sources: Old Mutual 
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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