The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) is launching an initiative to engage investors on the importance of investing in the health and nutrition of women, children and adolescents to save and improve lives, including by using its Sustainable Development Bonds issuances to highlight these issues and demonstrate how private sector investment can support development financing. As a start, the initiative’s launch was marked with the issuance of a World Bank Sustainable Development Bond in the amount of CAD 60 million (USD 47 million equivalent).
“When women, children and adolescents survive and are healthy, countries do better and can invest more in their priorities and in their people,” said Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank. “We are raising awareness with investors and other financial market participants on why investing in girls and women is smart economics. It is a part of our Sustainable Development Bonds, which offer investors a clear opportunity to put their money to work to help countries reach their development goals.”
Arunma Oteh, World Bank Vice President and Treasurer, said: “Investors recognize that they can make a contribution to a stronger society through their investment choices. World Bank Sustainable Development bonds offer an opportunity to invest in a safe and liquid product and support specific development goals. Together, we can mobilize more financing towards ensuring that women and young people achieve their full potential and contribute to a better future for their societies and communities.”
The initiative was announced as the Group of Seven (G7) Summit is being hosted by the Government of Canada in Quebec from June 8-9, 2018. The Government of Canada has long supported the empowerment and well-being of women, children and adolescents, including through the Global Financing Facility (GFF)—a multi-stakeholder partnership hosted by the World Bank. As a founding member of the GFF, Canada has invested CAD 240 million in the GFF since 2015, to support countries to expand their efforts to improve health, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and education, with a particular focus on adolescent girls.
“We know that investing in the health and nutrition of women and girls benefits everyone—entire families, communities and nations. Healthy and empowered women and girls—especially adolescents—are our best asset in building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Canada.
Recent research shows that the world is losing out on USD 160 trillion because of gender inequality in earnings. One key determinant of women’s ability to participate equally in the workplace and in the economy is their health and well-being. Every year more than five million mothers and children die from preventable conditions. Even in better-performing economies where many of the world’s poor live, women, children and adolescents are not receiving the health, nutrition, education and other services they need to lead longer, healthier and more productive lives. An estimated USD 33 billion in additional financing is needed every year for investments that will save the lives of and improve the well-being of women, children and adolescents and enable them to contribute to their societies and economies. These investments, including through the GFF, are critical for countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 3, which focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages.
Through its Treasury, the World Bank mobilizes private capital from investors to support development projects and programs in countries. In many of these countries, women, children and adolescents in poor communities and rural populations are left behind as countries make economic progress, but still face financing gaps in health, nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and education. The GFF uses innovative financing instruments such as loan buy-downs and co-financing grants to help countries access financing from domestic resources, the private sector and development funding, to focus on results for women, children and adolescents.
About the World Bank
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD), rated Aaa/AAA (Moody’s/S&P), is an international organization created in 1944 and the original member of the World Bank Group. It operates as a global development cooperative owned by 189 nations. It provides its members with financing, expertise and coordination services so they can achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and find effective solutions to pressing regional and global economic and environmental problems. The World Bank has two main goals: to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. It seeks to achieve them primarily by providing loans, risk management products, and expertise on development-related disciplines to its borrowing member government clients in middle-income countries and other creditworthy countries, and by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges. It has been issuing sustainable development bonds in the international capital markets for over 70 years to fund its activities that achieve a positive impact. Information on World Bank bonds for investors is available on the World Bank Treasury website: www.worldbank.org/debtsecurities
About the Global Financing Facility
The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that is helping countries tackle the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents. The GFF brings governments and partners together around a country-led plan, prioritizing high-impact but underinvested areas of health. The GFF Trust Fund acts as a catalyst for financing, with countries using modest GFF Trust Fund grants to significantly increase their domestic resources alongside the World Bank’s IDA and IBRD financing, aligned external financing, and private sector resources. Each relatively small external investment is multiplied by countries’ own commitments—generating a large return on investment, ultimately saving and improving lives. Learn more: www.globalfinancingfacility.org and @theGFF