Global Financing Facility Launched with Billions Already Mobilized to End Maternal and Child Mortality by 2030

July 13, 2015


New partnership to raise resources from private capital markets to help close global financing gap for investments in maternal, adolescent and child health

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 13, 2015—The United Nations, the World Bank Group, and the Governments of Canada, Norway and the United States joined country and global health leaders today to launch the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child, and announced that $12 billion in domestic and international, private and public funding has already been aligned to country-led five-year investment plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in the four GFF front-runner countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Launched at the Third International Financing for Development Conference, the GFF is a key financing platform in support of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the launch, the World Bank Group announced a new GFF partnership with its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to raise funds from capital markets for countries with significant funding gaps for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH). This ground-breaking partnership expects to mobilize between $3 to $5 dollars from the private capital markets for every $1 dollar invested into the GFF.  The Government of Canada is jumpstarting this initiative with a $40 million investment towards two focus areas: one that prioritizes strengthening front-line health systems and scaling-up of community health workers, and another that focuses on the control of malaria to reduce child mortality.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Japan, and the United States announced new financing commitments totalling $214 million.  This is in addition to commitments previously made by Norway and Canada of $600 million and $200 million, respectively, to the World Bank Group-managed GFF Trust Fund.

The GFF has set in motion an unprecedented movement among countries, United Nations agencies and multilateral agencies including the World Bank Group, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as public and private sector financiers and civil society organizations, to increase and align funding in support of countries’ health priorities and plans, to drive transformative improvements in the health of women, children and adolescents everywhere. Today’s announcements are a first step to help close the $33.3 billion annual funding gap for RMNCAH.

The GFF partners also announced the next group of eight countries to benefit from the GFF, with the goal of supporting 62 high-burden low- and lower-middle income countries within five years. The GFF is adding Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda as the second wave of GFF countries.

New GFF-IBRD Partnership to Leverage Private Sector Investments for Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health

A key aim of the GFF is to mobilize private sector resources that, in addition to public sector resources, help close gaps in the financing of essential interventions required to improve the health of women, children and adolescents. To this end, the GFF is partnering with the World Bank Group’s IBRD to raise funds from capital markets for countries with significant funding gaps for RMNCAH.

The IBRD finances its lending activities by issuing bonds in the capital markets, leveraging its equity to bring in private sector financing for sustainable development. The new GFF-IBRD partnership will mobilize the capital markets for better outcomes for maternal child and adolescent health, by using the overall IBRD funding platform, issuing Sustainable Development Bonds with a health focus, and designing innovative risk-sharing structures. 

The Government of Canada’s $40 million investment to jumpstart this partnership and leverage funding from private capital markets will be directed toward investments in two focus areas: one that prioritizes strengthening front-line health systems and scaling-up of community health workers, and another that focuses on the control of malaria to reduce child mortality. These monies will be used as performance payments to countries, due upon the achievement of agreed-to outcomes, significantly reducing countries’ borrowing costs while incentivizing performance. Further investments in this partnership will unlock significantly more resources from the private sector, with an objective of raising up to $1 billion in private capital.

In support of Every Woman Every Child, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is planning to commit $75 million over five years to the GFF Trust Fund to advance the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

The GFF Trust Fund is catalyzing the work of the broader facility by providing grants to countries linked to World Bank Group loans for health and supporting countries to prepare health financing strategies that anticipate the transition of countries from low- to middle-income status. The GFF Trust Fund aims to secure universal access to essential services for every mother and every child by ensuring that official development assistance does not displace domestic resources for the sector and charting a path to sustainable domestic financing for health.

Other GFF partners are making commitments through in-country financing for country-led maternal and child health investment plans. This includes a US$50 million commitment to the GFF from the U.S. Agency for International Development. This funding will support the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to scale up national strategies and efforts to end preventable child and maternal deaths. The Government of Japan pledges $33 million to support maternal and child health initiatives in Kenya. 

In addition, Canada commits $16 million for the start-up and establishment of a global Centre of Excellence for strengthening civil registration and vital statistics, in support of the GFF’s efforts to contribute to universal registration by 2030. By improving the quality and availability of data on every birth, death, cause of death and marriage, GFF-supported countries will be able to better monitor and track their investments in maternal, newborn and child health.

GBCHealth, a coalition of companies and organizations investing their resources to make a healthier world, is committing to raise capital for the GFF from its network of companies through its Health Credit Exchange, a new performance-based funding initiative.

About the Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Woman Every Child

The GFF is a key financing platform of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. It is a country-driven financing partnership that brings RMNCAH stakeholders together, under national government leadership and ownership, to provide smart, scaled and sustainable financing to accelerate efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths by 2030.

The child mortality rate in low-income countries is more than 15 times higher than in high-income countries. And maternal mortality is nearly 30 times higher. Yet, with over 100 million children’s lives saved since 1990, the Lancet Commission on Investment and Health documented the feasibility of a grand convergence in mortality between low-income countries and the best-performing middle-income countries, with a return of nine to 20 per dollar invested.

The GFF will be a key driver of this convergence. Its results framework will be aligned with the Global Strategy’s results frameworks and with the new Sustainable Development Goals.

The GFF is an essential part of the paradigm shift in development financing, emphasizing the essential but changing role of official development assistance in unlocking domestic resources and private flows and focusing on results.  It has the potential to act as a pathfinder for financing the SDGs in the post-2015 era.




“Our vision is clear: to end all preventable maternal, child and adolescent deaths within a generation and ensure that women, children and adolescents thrive,” said Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General. "We need innovative financing at scale and game-changing partnerships to support the updated Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health and subsequent Every Woman Every Child movement. Today, I will formally launch the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child, a key financing platform for this updated Global Strategy."


“Achieving our goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030 will help provide what we all want—health for all,” said Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President. “This is why the World Bank Group is proud to launch with its partners the Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Woman Every Child—a funding partnership that can help move us from the billions to the trillions of dollars required to secure universal access to essential, quality health services for all women and children, no matter where they live. I want to thank the UN Secretary-General for his extraordinary leadership and all of the GFF partners for joining forces to make the promise of the GFF a reality. The GFF will provide smarter, scaled and sustainable financing from developing country governments, international donors, and the private sector to support national strategies for women’s and children’s health—a critical investment toward ending extreme poverty.”


“Canada is a leader in public-private financing for development,” said Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie of Canada.‎ “As a founding partner, we welcome the launch of the GFF, which is yet another example of how the public, nongovernmental and private sectors are working together to bring the tools of innovative finance to the health sector. The GFF will focus on strengthening national-level systems to collect development data. This is essential to achieving progress on Canada’s top development priority: improving maternal, newborn and child health."


“Norway is committed to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende of Norway. “The GFF offers an excellent opportunity to align and mobilize more domestic and international resources—private and public—to maternal, child and adolescent health to build resilient health systems based on national plans and priorities. The GFF is designed for countries to scale-up essential health services and transition to more sustainable health financing.”


“On behalf of the United States Government, USAID is proud to be a founding partner of the Global Financing Facility,” said USAID Acting Administrator Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt. “Our $50 million commitment will help the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania scale up their efforts to end preventable child and maternal deaths. In addition to saving lives in these countries, this cross-sectoral partnership will further catalyze further investment in global efforts to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere.”


Democratic Republic of Congo

“Despite concerted efforts over the past 15 years to improve health outcomes for mothers and children, maternal mortality in low-income countries remains 30 times higher than in high-income countries. Clearly the time has come to embrace new approaches,” said Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi, Minister of Public Health, Democratic Republic of Congo. “The GFF will help the DRC harmonize existing funding and catalyze additional domestic and international funding in support of national maternal and child health plans. Because it works through existing structures and processes to optimize efficiency, the GFF promotes universal health coverage for all, with a horizontal, integrated approach. It is charting a path to increased domestic financing and a gradual transition to sustainable domestic financing for health.”



“Despite the strong gains we have made over the past decade, child and especially maternal mortality remain unacceptably high in Ethiopia,” said Dr. Kesete Admasu, Minister of Health, Ethiopia. “The GFF represents the chance to strengthen our efforts to improve the health of mothers and children, in Ethiopia and throughout the world. By firmly situating reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health—RMNCAH—within the broader health context, the GFF is well-aligned with the Ethiopian context, strengthens our health system, and contributes to our vision of a healthy, productive, and prosperous Ethiopia. I hope it will be possible for many more countries to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.”



“In Kenya, child mortality has declined by more than 20 per cent since 2008 and the fertility rate for the first time is less than four,” said Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia. “Stunting, which remained stubbornly high over the past two decades, has declined and the country has attained the Millennium Development Goal target on stunting. Six out of ten expectant mothers now receive skilled care at childbirth and over half receive postnatal care. However, more needs to be done. We are delighted to see the renewed global momentum and support for improving maternal and child health outcomes as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Every Woman and Every Child initiative, which resulted in establishment of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) that is being launched today. The growing national and international commitments provide opportunities to enhance both domestic and donor support for ensuring smart, scaled-up and sustained financing for improving the health of women, children and adolescents.”



“The GFF is playing a key role in supporting countries to mobilize additional domestic financing to the health sector, by helping us liaise with the Ministry of Finance. It has also added value by aligning other development partners in the country and utilizing the key technical role of UN agencies at the country level,” said Dr. Seif S. Rashid, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania. “The GFF is effective in that it uses the extensive work done in country and is nested within existing plans and strategies. I hope others will join Tanzania in our commitment to the GFF.”


"The decisions, investments, and policies we make in 2015 can accelerate progress in reducing maternal and child mortality worldwide and put countries on a path to self-sufficiency by 2030," said Mark Suzman, President, Global Policy, Advocacy & Country Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The Global Financing Facility has the potential to be a powerful and effective tool to help countries leverage domestic and international resources to implement country-specific plans that will further accelerate reductions in preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths.”


 “If the world is serious about the health-related SDG targets, it needs to make serious investments – both at domestic and international levels,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “WHO supports the Global Financing Facility as an innovative financing model that will pave the way for countries to be able to make these investments to positively impact the health of women, children and adolescents, as we work towards achieving the goals of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. We look forward to working with countries as they develop their investment plans and determine what their major needs are in these areas, and support their efforts towards meeting the ambitious goals of the Global Strategy.” 


"The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health (PMNCH; Partnership) shares the excitement around the creation of the Global Financing Facility (GFF). The Partnership brings together 700 members, from a wide range of sectors, cooperating to achieved the same RMNCAH goals”, said Robin Gorna, Executive Director of the Partnership, a key supporter of the Every Woman Every Child movement. “The post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era challenges the Partnership and the global health community to find new ways to better finance and scale up programmes that are impacting the lives of women, children, and adolescents, and to put countries in the lead. The GFF will serve as a major vehicle for aligning domestic and international finance behind the SDGs and will play a special role to bring to an end preventable maternal, child, newborn and adolescent deaths.”


“Today's launch of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman, Every Child, and especially the new partnership between the Global Financing Facility and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is an extraordinary step forward to mobilize private capital for global health,” said Ray Chambers, UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria. “I applaud the World Bank Group, Government of Canada and all investors in the GFF, for jump starting this initiative, and believe that it will mobilize substantial financing from the private markets.”


“To see increases in domestic resources for health, Ministers of Finance need to be convinced that investments in health are a foundation for economic development. This is why the Global Financing Facility has such an important role to play," said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.


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