WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2020—Efforts to improve production, supply, and delivery of critical health care products and services in developing countries to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic received a boost today when Norway committed NOK 72M (US$8.4M) to IFC's Global Health Platform.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting developing countries hard, with vulnerable health systems, underfunded or non-existent social safety nets, and heavy dependence on imports for the most critical health care products and consumables. The $4-billion Global Health Platform forms an integral part of the World Bank Group’s response to COVID-19 by supporting the private sector’s ability to respond to these immediate and longer-term challenges.
Under the Global Health Platform, IFC is providing financing solutions to manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers for capacity expansion and working capital requirements to increase the supply of affordable health care products and services in developing countries. These efforts are complemented by advisory services to strengthen capacity, as well as IFC’s creating market activities to promote private sector solutions.
The partnership with Norway puts IFC more than halfway toward the goal of securing $25 million for the Global Health Platform’s advisory work, representing a significant milestone and increased momentum to support private sector solutions going into a critical phase of the pandemic.
“The work IFC is doing with Norway on the Global Health Platform responds to a pressing need to bolster healthcare systems in developing countries by supporting private sector interventions,” said Tomasz Telma, IFC Senior Director for Global Industry Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services. “The gaps in healthcare have been laid bare during the COVID-19 pandemic response, demonstrating that our healthcare value chains are only as strong as their weakest links. The Global Health Platform aims to address these challenges and strengthen healthcare networks in developing countries for the long term. Improvements to manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and delivery of services will leave us better prepared to respond to future health emergencies and better care for people in difficult circumstances.”
The partnership with Norway will boost IFC’s efforts to create projects and open markets for increased local manufacturing of specific health care products and service capacities in developing countries; improve resource efficiency in the pharmaceutical sector while increasing access to safe and quality health care services. Furthermore, it will help improve resilience of medical facilities and other actors in the health care supply chain; address the gender gap in health care employment and leadership; and support other efforts along the health care product and service value chain.
“Under the unprecedented context of COVID-19, Norway is taking on a leading role in the efforts to beat the pandemic, both politically and in mobilizing continued financial support to the global response,” said Dag Inge Ulstein, Norway’s Minister of International Development, “IFCs Global Health Platform complements and strengthens the WHO ACT-Accelerator’s objectives. We are proud to be partnering with IFC, this will bring in the private sector and promote gender equality through leadership on sectors such as healthcare”.
The Global Health Platform builds on the $8 billion fast-track IFC financing facility to help keep companies in business and preserve jobs in developing countries. It is a critical component of IFC’s second phase of pandemic response. The advisory work of the Global Health Platform will strengthen value chains to improve the COVID-19 response in developing countries while constructing a backbone for health care delivery that can be built on for decades to come.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.