The World Bank Group’s private-sector arm has announced plan to launch a $4 billion financing platform to boost the production and supply of critical health care products.
While disclosing this on Wednesday July 29, 2020, the group stated that the platform was aimed at helping developing countries fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Finance Corp’s initiative is largely aimed at private-sector projects to manufacture products such as personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical equipment, coronavirus test kits, therapeutic drugs and vaccines.
IFC is contributing $2 billion in internal resources with plans for another $2 billion to come from private-sector partners.
According to IFC Chief Operating Officer Stephanie von Friedenburg, the group also intends to work with other international finance institutions to leverage additional funds.
She stated that IFC is working with the GAVI global vaccine alliance to identify and finance projects that can boost COVID-19 vaccine production in developing countries.
“The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide demand for critical healthcare products, including masks and ventilators, now exceeds supply by more than $60 billion annually,” Stephanie said.
She added that Initial products financed by the IFC platform will be focused on immediate supply needs.
“We have to expand the capacity of services as well as supplies to make a more resilient future,” she said.
Because some more sophisticated equipment, such as ventilators, are built largely in developed countries, the initiative also allows up to 30% of the financing to go to projects in developed countries, with commitments to supply developing countries.
Von Friedenburg said there would be “an exceptionally high bar” for such projects in wealthier countries and they would have to prove that they are meeting immediate supply needs.