GLOBAL — IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, has announced plans to avail up to US$4 billion to boost access to healthcare supplies in developing countries.

IFC said that the commitment was in line with its goal of helping developing countries fight the coronavirus pandemic with more masks, ventilators, test kits, and potential vaccines.

According to the IFC, the US$4-billion Global Health Platform will help address the severe shortage of medical supplies in developing countries.

Through the Global Health platform, IFC will provide financing to manufacturers of healthcare products, suppliers of critical raw materials, and healthcare service providers so they can expand capacity for products and services to be delivered to developing countries.

 IFC, in its statement explained that it will contribute $2 billion from its own account while mobilizing an additional $2 billion from private-sector partners.

“As the pandemic surges in developing countries, access to critical healthcare supplies and services is becoming increasingly constrained,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Chief Operating Officer of IFC.

“IFC’s new platform will provide a lifeline to these countries while helping them build the foundations for more resilient healthcare systems.”

IFC said that the financing will be offered to both existing and new clients, mostly in developing countries.

It further noted that to ensure the platform benefits developing countries, companies based in developed countries that receive funding must commit a share of their supply to developing countries.

According to the World Health Organization, more than US$60 billion would be required to expand supply to meet the surge in demand around the world triggered by the pandemic.

IFC says that it will work with multilateral development banks, development finance institutions and other partners to mobilize additional financing.

The IFC Global Health Platform builds on the US$8-billion fast-track financing facility that IFC has rolled out to help keep companies in business and preserve jobs in developing countries.

 In four months, IFC has committed US$3.7 billion of the facility to help shore up private sector activity, especially among micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

IFC has also fully utilized the US$2 billion under the trade-finance envelope of the facility to support client financial institutions to keep liquidity flowing to businesses that depend on trade.

IFC has now committed projects in every region in which the institution operates and its  response is part of the World Bank Group’s effort to take broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response.

IFC is also working closely with the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which has committed $6.5 billion to help private-sector investors and lenders tackle COVID-19.

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