Thank you, Secretaries Hayashi and Blinken, for co-hosting this important meeting. It’s good to see everyone.
COVID-19 has highlighted the pressing need for action to build stronger health systems and mobilize additional resources for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response – or PPR.
When COVID-19 struck, it required immediate support for developing countries. The World Bank Group mounted the fastest and largest response in our history with operations in over 100 countries. This included financing for vaccine procurement and delivery in 78 countries. Still, we know that delivering and administering vaccines remains a constant task. We are working closely with the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership to support focus countries to achieve their coverage goals.
We have worked closely with the WHO, IMF, and WTO throughout the pandemic. We’re providing an evidence-based and country-specific approach to track, coordinate, and deploy COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, and address vaccine hesitancy.
We have also worked with other development partners, including USAID and JICA, to strengthen the laboratory capacity of regional entities, such as the Africa CDC.
We are proceeding quickly to establish a financial intermediary fund – or FIF – to mobilize additional resources for PPR and complement efforts to strengthen health systems in developing countries and regions. The FIF will incentivize countries to increase investments, enhance coordination among partners, and serve as a platform for advocacy.
We are encouraged that $1.3 billion in financial commitments have already been announced for the FIF, including contributions from the U.S. and Japan.
We look forward to more countries joining this partnership, to strengthening health systems further, and to working together on this critical agenda, including at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in August in Tunisia.
Thank you and I wish you a successful ministerial meeting.