The FINANCIAL -- Millions of children in the world’s poorest countries stand to benefit from a US$ 700 million bond issue, whose proceeds will help fund immunisation programmes by the GAVI Alliance, according to the World BankGroup.
The transaction – with buyers on five continents – was by far the largest by the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) since its inaugural benchmark in 2006 raised $1 billion, according to the World Bank Group.
Funds raised through the sale of IFFIm “vaccine bonds” support the GAVI Alliance, an innovative public-private partnership whose mission is to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries. Since GAVI was founded in 2000, it has helped immunise 370 million children, preventing 5.5 million premature deaths, according to the World Bank Group.
“IFFIm is innovation at a global scale, linking investors and central bankers in Europe, the U.S., Middle East, Japan and elsewhere with children in developing countries,” said GAVI CEO Dr Seth Berkley.
“This global bond issue will fund immunisations for millions of children who need it the most,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, which is IFFIm’s treasury manager. “Having predictable, long-term funding in place will help us ensure that the world’s most vulnerable children have access to healthcare, and that is a critical step in achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030,” he added.
The size and global reach of this new benchmark issuance highlights the impact of IFFIm as a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), helping protect millions of children from deadly diseases by supporting GAVI’s work in strengthening health systems and purchasing vaccines.
This includes vaccines against the worst kinds of pneumonia and diarrhoea, the two biggest killers of children under five; and against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib and hepatitis B through the 5-in-1 pentavalent vaccine for which IFFIm has to date provided GAVI $1.1 billion.
“IFFIm's vaccine bonds prove that investments can make both financial sense and a social impact by saving lives,” said IFFIm Chair René Karsenti, noting that last month marked the 50th anniversary of the first international bond issue.“Vaccine bonds are critical testimony of the formidable evolution of the international bond markets, providing effective financing tools for social impact,” she added.
Among the buyers of the three-year, US-dollar denominated floating rate note – co-managed by Daiwa Securities Group and Deutsche Bank – are central banks and institutional investors in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US. This is IFFIm’s fourth benchmark and first since 2010. IFFIm is also active in the Japanese “uridashi” retail bond market, where it has sold more than $ 2 billion worth of vaccine bonds, according to the World Bank Group.