COVID-19 Spend $50bn to end COVID, suggest IMF, World Bank,...

Spend $50bn to end COVID, suggest IMF, World Bank, WHO and WTO

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday made a rare and what they called “extraordinary” plea for international cooperation and investment.

“By now it has become abundantly clear there will be no broad-based recovery without an end to the health crisis,” the four bodies said in a joint statement. “Access to vaccination is key to both.”

A roadmap created by the coalition aims to accelerate and fairly distribute health tools around the world. The groups said a $50bn finance package could drive $9trn in additional global output by 2025. A failure to invest will mean continued waves and explosive outbreaks of COVID19, the groups warned, as well as more transmissible and deadly virus variants.

“You may ask why is the IMF concerned with vaccinations?” IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said at a joint press conference on Tuesday. “We are deeply concerned because an increasingly two-track pandemic is causing a two-track economic recovery — with negative consequences for all countries.

“And our data shows that in the near term vaccinating the world is the most effective way to boost global output. In other words, vaccine policy is economic policy.”

The proposed plan includes vaccinating at least 40% of the population of all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60% by the first half of 2022.

This will require additional upfront grants to COVAX, donations of surplus vaccine doses, and free cross-border flows of raw materials and finished vaccines.

“Cooperation on trade is also needed to ensure free cross-border flows and increasing supplies of raw materials and finished vaccines,” the agencies said.

Of the $50bn needed, the agencies believe grant financing will cover around $35bn while the rest could come from national governments.

The heads of the world’s predominant global financing, health and trade agencies have united to urge government leaders to urgently finance a new $50 billion roadmap to accelerate the equitable distribution of health tools to help end the pandemic that has devastated lives and livelihoods for 18 months and also set the foundations for a truly global recovery, as well as enhanced health security.

In a statement published by newspapers around the world, the leaders of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization (Kristalina Georgieva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, David Malpass, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) said governments must act without further delay or risk continued waves and explosive outbreaks of COVID-19 as well as more transmissible and deadly virus variants undermining the global recovery.

The joint statement draws on a recent IMF staff analysis, which stated that $50 billion in new investment is needed to increase manufacturing capacity, supply, trade flows, and delivery, which would accelerate the equitable distribution of diagnostics, oxygen, treatments, medical supplies and vaccines. This injection would also give a major boost to economic growth around the world.

“At an estimated $50 billion, it will bring the pandemic to an end faster in the developing world, reduce infections and loss of lives, accelerate the economic recovery, and generate some $9 trillion in additional global output by 2025, “ said the leadership.

It echoes economic analysis by the International Chamber of Commerce; and the Eurasia Group—both of which make the case for a relatively modest investment by governments in comparison to the trillions spent on national stimulus plans and lost trillions in foregone economic output. But the critical element of this is that it effectively spurs global vaccination and bridges the equity gap.

“Increasing our ambition and vaccinating more people faster: WHO and its COVAX partners have set a goal of vaccinating approximately 30% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021,” said the four leaders. “But this can reach even 40% through other agreements and surge investment, and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022.”

Governments are urged to act on the investment opportunity to boost supplies of vaccines, oxygen, tests and treatment. The IMF, WBG, WHO and WTO leaders issued their joint statement as the World Health Assembly drew to a conclusion and a round of G7 meetings were set to start, beginning with a Finance Ministers convening later this week, and following a Global Health Summit co-hosted by the EU and Italy, which chairs the G20.

“To urgently get more shots in arms, doses need to be donated immediately to developing countries synchronized with national vaccine deployment plans, including through COVAX,” said the four leaders. “Cooperation on trade is also needed to ensure free cross-border flows and increasing supplies of raw materials and finished vaccines.”

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