UN Covid-19 programme seeks funding

17 Dec 20

A $28bn programme aimed at getting Covid-19 treatments and vaccines to low and middle-income countries would “pay itself off within 36 hours”, a World Health Organisation official has said.

The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator has been launched by the UN to support the development, production and distribution of two billion vaccine doses, 500 million rapid diagnostics and 250 million therapeutic tests.

Dr Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom and leader of the ACT Accelerator said the programme needs $28bn to tackle the virus in poorer countries, but that the money would be offset by the benefit to the economy.

“This is the best deal in town – no question,” he told a UN briefing.

“This will pay itself off within 36 hours, once we get international travel and trade mobility moving again.”

Aylward said raising the money in the current fiscal environment would be a challenge, but warned that not doing so would mean the pandemic will drag on for longer and cost more.

“Right now, financing is what stands between us and getting out of this pandemic as rapidly as possible. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

The ACT Accelerator is looking at different financing instruments, including concessional loans, special purpose vehicles, social bonds or catastrophe bonds, which are normally reserved for natural disasters.

Aylward said the group was also looking “very hard” at trying to access Covid-19 government stimulus financing, which among G20 countries alone has reached $12trn.

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