Reuters Examines Investors’ Interests In Bonds That Support GAVI Alliance

“It’s not only biologists, philanthropists and donor governments who are needed to make vaccine projects in poor countries work. Financial engineers … also have a role,” Reuters writes in an article that examines how “a new kind of bond issue” is helping to support the GAVI Alliance.

“Designed to roll forward future donor pledges into cash-in-hand today, the idea was pioneered in 2005 by Gordon Brown, then British finance minister,” and the “$1 billion bond from the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) was launched in 2006 to mature in November 2011,” the news service writes. “The bonds have struck a chord with institutional investors who appreciate the steady returns and AAA rating of notes on which the World Bank acts as treasurer.”

Gary Smith, a banker, who Reuters writes, “helped set up a sterling offering for HSBC [Bank],” said, “It’s not a donation; it’s an investment. But the mechanics of the product mean the money gets to GAVI sooner and that means immunisations can start sooner.”

The article details additional features of the bonds that attract investors before noting, “IFFIm’s bonds are backed by the governments of Britain, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and South Africa, which have pledged a total of $5.9 billion to fund vaccines in the developing world over 23 years” (Hirschler, 12/14).

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