Tokyo, 27 February 2008 - A "vaccine bond" expected to be offered in Japan next month aims to accelerate efforts to immunise children in the world's poorest countries against deadly diseases, the first initiative of its kind in Japan to use the capital markets to raise funds for a specific development purpose.
"These bonds not only offer a triple-A investment but also an opportunity to save the lives of children and invest in future generations," said Alan Gillespie, Chair of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation Company (IFFIm), after a seminar for investors in Tokyo today.
IFFIm raises funds on the world's capital markets, with the World Bank as its Treasury Manager, to support the work of the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), which brings together key actors including UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, civil society organisations and vaccine manufacturers.
"IFFIm's financing is helping to create new bridges between the worlds of high finance and public health. This is a first in Japan and the money raised through the sale of these bonds will help GAVI purchase vaccines for children and strengthen the health systems in 70 of the world's poorest countries," Mr. Gillespie added.
The IFFIm bonds are being offered by Daiwa Securities SMBC Co Ltd, the wholesale securities firm under Daiwa Securities Group.
"As the Treasury Manager for IFFIm, the World Bank is very pleased that Japanese investors will have the opportunity - through their investment - to make a difference in millions of lives," said Doris Herrera-Pol, Director and Global Head of Capital Markets at the World Bank.
IFFIm is rated AAA/Aaa/AAA by Fitch Ratings Ltd, Moody's Investor Services Inc and Standard and Poor's Ratings Services. The "vaccine bonds" that will be offered to Japanese investors are denominated in South African Rand (ZAR). The issuance in Japan follows IFFIm's first foray into the capital markets in London in November 2006 when it raised US$1 billion from investors all over the world.
Of the initial US$ 1 billion raised, nearly US$ 900 million had already been disbursed by January 2008 in 43 countries.
IFFIm benefits from legally-binding payments received from donor governments over a 20-year period. The current donors to IFFIm are the governments of France, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The government of Brazil has also announced its intention to join IFFIm with a commitment of US$20 million over 20 years.
An anticipated total IFFIm funding of up to US$ 4 billion provided for immunisation and health programmes is expected to help prevent 10 million child and adult deaths between 2006 and 2015.
IFFIm has been widely recognised for its innovative character. Its awards include the 2007 Sustainable Deal of the Year in the Financial Times Sustainable Banking Awards.
"We are very excited to be in Tokyo today," said Alice Albright, Chief Financial and Investment Officer at the GAVI Alliance. "Japan is not only a world leader in finance and banking but also a nation that has done so much to improve the lives of children in poor countries around the world."
Launched in 2000 at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, GAVI has had a significant impact on the global health agenda by forging a new business model for development and raising unprecedented amounts of new money for immunisation and health programmes. Since its inception in 2000, GAVI funds have helped prevent an estimated 2.9 million deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.
GAVI is a member of the International Health Partnership and the H8 Group of global health leaders. Both groups are focusing on how better to strengthen aid coordination and national health systems in developing countries.
The securities referred to in this document have not been, and will not be, registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), or under the securities legislation of any state of the United States, and may not be offered or sold in the United States, other than pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act. IFFIm does not presently intend to make a public offer of securities in the United States or to register any securities under the Securities Act.
The securities referred to in this document will only be offered or sold outside the United States in offshore transactions in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act.
About the GAVI Alliance
GAVI's efforts are critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goal on child health, which calls for reducing childhood mortality by two thirds by 2015. Of the 9.7 million children who die before reaching their fifth birthday every year, 2.5 million die from diseases that could be prevented with currently available or new vaccines.
IFFIm is a multilateral development institution created to accelerate the availability of predictable, long-term funds for health and immunisation programmes through the GAVI Alliance in 70 of the poorest countries around the world. IFFIm was created as a development financing tool to help the international community achieve certain of the Millennium Development Goals. IFFIm's financial base consists of legally binding grants payments from its sovereign sponsors (France, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the UK), on the basis of which IFFIm issues AAA/Aaa/AAA (Fitch/Moody's/S&P) -rated bonds in the international capital markets. The World Bank is the Treasury Manager for IFFIm. IFFIm funds are provided as grants - not loans - through the GAVI Alliance in some 70 of the world's poorest countries. IFFIm was established as a charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales and is registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee with number 5857343 and as a charity with number 1115413.
About the World Bank
The World Bank is a global development cooperative owned by 185 member countries. Its purpose is to help its members achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and to find effective solutions to pressing regional and global problems in economic development and environmental sustainability. The goal is to help overcome poverty and improve standards of living for people worldwide. The World Bank is also the Treasury Manager for IFFIm. In that capacity, the World Bank, as IFFIm's agent, manages IFFIm's finances according to prudent policies and standards. This includes IFFIm's funding strategy and its implementation in the capital markets, rating agency and investor outreach, hedging transactions and investment management. The World Bank also coordinates with IFFIm's donors and manages their pledges and payments, as well as IFFIm's disbursements for immunisation and health programmes through the GAVI Alliance.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Onaga (Tokyo)
Rachel Winter Jones (Paris)
+33 1 4069 3052 office
Yoshiyuki Arima (Tokyo)
+81 3 3597 6650