Vaccine project set to start with bond sale -UK

SINGAPORE - A plan to get $4 billion of life-saving vaccines to millions of children in poor countries will kick off next month with the sale of a large bond, British finance minister Gordon Brown said on Sunday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 17 Sep 2006, 7:21 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:22 PM

In Singapore for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund, Brown said the first tranche of bonds from the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) -- some $750 million to $1 billion worth -- will be sold on October 12.

Backed by eight countries, the plan aims to fund immunisation projects against killer diseases such as malaria by raising money in the capital markets.

‘There is so much good being done by this initiative,’ Brown told reporters. ‘Hundreds of millions of children are being helped by an innovative financial instrument that is actually doing something innovative in the field of healthcare.’

The World Bank will administer the facility, officials said, and investment banks Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank will manage the issue. The bonds were likely to mature in 4-5 years but that would be decided by market conditions.

The IFFIm is the pilot for a wider International Finance Facilty programme, which would use long-term development budgets of donor countries as collateral in order to raise funds immediately.

Brown had championed the project, pushing colleagues in the Group of Seven industrialised countries for years to support it. The idea had met opposition from the United States.

The plan aims to double development aid to the poorest countries to $100 billion.

Brown said the technique of using long-term budgets as collateral is essential if the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of sharply reducing infant mortality are to be met by 2015.

Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Brazil and South Africa are backing the bonds, which will be rated triple-A..

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