IMF, World Bank, WHO and WTO tell world leaders: Spend $50bn to end COVID

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"There will be no broad-based recovery without an end to the health crisis. Access to vaccination is key to both," the orgnisations said. Photo: Reuters
"There will be no broad-based recovery without an end to the health crisis. Access to vaccination is key to both," the orgnisations said. Photo: Reuters

Top international agencies representing global health and the economy have told government leaders around the world to finance a $50bn (£35bn) package to end the coronavirus pandemic by increasing access to vaccinations. 

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."

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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.

Watch: Billions of cheap vaccines for poor as IMF proposes $50 billion pandemic plan

The roadmap draws on a recent IMF staff analysis that found $50bn in new investment was needed to increase manufacturing capacity, supply, trade and delivery of diagnostics, oxygen, treatments, medical supplies and vaccines.

"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. 

“It will bring the pandemic to an end faster in the developing world, reduce infections and loss of lives and accelerate the economic recovery,“ the organisations said.

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