COVID-19 has infected over 170 million people globally, resulting in more than 3.5 million deaths. In Africa, the number of reported COVID-19 cases has surpassed 4.8 million, resulting in more than 130,000 deaths. ​

On August 20, 2020, the African Union launched the African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy. The number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply. So far, less than two percent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose.  ​

To fill this gap in vaccine equity, The Mastercard Foundation partnered with the Africa CDC to provide access to vaccines to Africa. ​

The Mastercard Foundation deployed $1.3 billion to be used over 3 years with the objective to acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across Africa, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and strengthen the Africa CDC.​ ​


Strategically announce the initiative by engaging media from the five key markets the initiative would start in (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal), and the 4 key markets that the Foundations donors were present (Canada, USA, UK  and France). ​


The Communications strategy that was developed identified tactics that were engaged in an Africa first approach with a global focus and intended to create high impact awareness of the initiative and engage with the media to educate general audiences on what the initiative entails and the hopes of the partnership and its impact. ​

Our approach to the campaign covered three main components:  ​

  • Crisis Management​
  • Media Approach​
  • Social Media Approach​

Our crisis management approach involved doing an audit on vaccine equity and response in the 11 markets and preparing an in-depth leak strategy and crisis management playbook for the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa CDC. ​ ​

Our media approach was focused on managing the initiative announcement, hosting the press Q&A, distributing the announcement release to relevant media houses and arranging one on one interviews for the Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC spokespeople Reeta Roy and Dr John Nkengasong. ​ ​

Our social media approach was to educate the public on the initiative post the announcement and developing a social media PR strategy that would amplify all media news coverage and highlight key aspects of the initiative for increased talkability. ​ ​ ​


278 pieces of coverage from 24 countries:​ Benin, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, UK, and the US.​

  • Global tier 1 interviews including FT, BBC World, CGTN Africa, and CNBC ​
  • Media attendance from 11 markets at the press conference and the press Q&A​
  • 1,368,910,225 media impressions​
  • 14.5K social media engagements ​