• Sunday, December 03, 2023
businessday logo


Africa benefits from $7.5bn pledge to immunise 300m children

Gates gives $40m to expand mRNA vaccine access in Nigeria, others — Reuters

Millions of children living in developing countries of Africa and other countries will benefit from life-saving vaccines as a result of record-breaking financial commitments made recently at the Gavi Pledging Conference, hosted in Berlin by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The pledges, worth $ 7.5 billion, will enable countries to immunise an additional 300 million children and avert about six million premature deaths.

The US$7.5 billion raised is from a mix of pledges from 17 sovereign donors and for the first time, almost all donors have made pledges for the full five-year funding period. Chancellor Merkel was joined in Berlin by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, president of the United Republic of Tanzania; Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, president of the Republic of Mali; Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway; Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank; Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; ministers from more than 20 implementing and donor countries, civil society groups, CEOs of vaccine manufacturing companies, UN agencies and others who came together to secure commitments to fully fund Gavi-supported immunisation programmes in developing countries between 2016 and 2020.

Read also: ‘Election postponement to erode investors’ confidence in economy’

Merkel, in her statement at the conference, said: “There is a long way still to go but today’s conference is an important milestone in the work of Gavi for the next few years to come. Please let us not fail, let us not lose courage but continue to put all our efforts into this wonderful work and thank all of those who are committed to this goal.” Bill Gates in his speech said that “it is a great day for children in the world’s poorest countries who will now receive the life-saving vaccines they need. We believe in the next 15 years, poor people’s lives will improve faster than any other period in history and that access to vaccines provided by Gavi is critical to making that happen.” About $252 million was committed to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm).

“We believe that vaccines should reach every child because this is one of the most effective ways of reducing preventable deaths in the poorest countries. The commitments made will ensure Gavi makes a telling contribution towards the global community’s goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030,” said Dagfinn Høybråten, chair of the Gavi board. It has been foretold that between 2016 and 2020, implementing countries will allocate a combined total of around US$1.2 billion, which is additional to the funding provided by donors, towards their Gavi- supported programmes through the alliance’s co- financing policy.

Keïta, president of Mali, said that his country was pleased to be working with Gavi to ensure that “our children – including those living in the most remote and inaccessible areas – are protected with modern, effective vaccines. Thanks to the historic pledges, children in Mali and around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy future.”