International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm)
A massive pre-financing mechanism based on loan guarantees
The IFFIm is a large-scale pre-financing mechanism which is based on a system of guaranteed bonds. It guarantees that close to €4 billion will be raised over 20 years to undertake far-reaching immunisation projects. The funds, guaranteed by donors, are provided by private investors on financial markets.
It may seem to take a long time to set up development assistance programmes when certain development issues must be addressed immediately. In the health sector particularly, any delay affects human lives and funding must be predictable if it is to be effective.
The International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm) was set up at the United Kingdom and France’s initiative in 2006 to deal with these problems. It is a large-scale pre-financing mechanism which is based on a system of guaranteed bonds. Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation decided to take part in the IFFIm alongside France and the United Kingdom. They were then joined by South Africa (in March 2007) and various talks are being held so that other countries, like Brazil, follow suit. Donors have pledged close to €4 billion over 20 years to fund far-reaching immunisation programmes.
Funds are raised by issuing bonds on the basis of donors’ pledges (countries or private foundations). The bonds are bought on financial markets and issued regularly on the basis of the scheme drawn up when the pledges are signed. Funds are perfectly predictable and stable and can be used directly for projects in the health sector.
The first issuance in November 2006 reflects this solid commitment because it raised nearly $1 billion in addition to $200 million raised from Japanese investors in March 2008. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) manages the funds allocating them to immunisation projects it has shown to be reliable. As a result, $862 million was disbursed in 2007 to various immunisation and health system improvement programmes, such as the pentavalent vaccine initiative. This should save over 500 million children in the future.
Other important initiatives are also being carried out against measles, yellow fever, polio and tetanus contracted during births by mothers and their children.