The International Monetary Fund on Friday unveiled a $50 billion proposal to end the COVID-19 pandemic by vaccinating at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60% by the first half of 2022.
Doing so, IMF officials say, would inject the equivalent of $9 trillion into the global economy by 2025 due to a faster resumption of economic activity, with rich countries potentially benefiting the most.
The crisis has killed more than 3.5 million people across the world, and projections point to highly unequal health prospects well into 2022, which poses "severe risks for the world," the IMF said. read more
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told a health summit hosted by the European Commission and Group of 20 major economies that it made sense for rich economies to boost donations to ensure a faster end to the pandemic.
"Advanced economies – asked to contribute most to this effort – would likely see the highest return on public investment in modern history, capturing 40% of the GDP gains and roughly $1 trillion in additional tax revenues," she said in her prepared remarks.
The proposal, drafted by IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath and staff economist Ruchir Agarwal, builds on efforts already under way by the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, United Nations, World Health Organization and other groups.
Implementing the plan would cost some $50 billion, with $35 billion to be paid for by grants from rich countries, private and multilateral donors, and the remaining $15 billion to be funded by national governments using low- or no-interest financing available from multilateral development banks.
G20 countries had already recognized the need for some $22 billion in grants to tackle the crisis, leaving some $13 billion in additional grants needed to reach the $50 billion, the IMF authors said.
The plan calls for upfront financing, vaccine donations and moves to ensure free cross-border flows of raw materials and finished vaccines, as well as some $8 billion in investments to diversify and increase vaccine production capacity worldwide.
The IMF projected some 1 billion doses could be donated this year even if countries prioritized their own populations, and 1 billion additional doses should be produced by early 2022 to handle downside risks, such as new variants that require booster shots.
While the vaccine supply was still limited, it called for $30 billion in spending on widespread testing, sufficient therapeutics and preparations for vaccine deployment, as well as $2 billion to evaluate and implement dose-stretching strategies.
Without urgent actions, many emerging and developing countries might have to wait until the end of 2022 or later to bring the pandemic under control, they said.
Meanwhile,China's President Xi Jinping on Friday pledged an additional $3 billion in aid over the next three years to help developing countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and proposed setting up an international forum on vaccine cooperation.
The funds will go toward supporting the COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery, Xi said in a speech at the Group of 20 Global Health Summit.
While developed countries are producing vaccines and rapidly inoculating their populations, poorer nations have complained about a lack of access, with the World Health Organization warning of a "catastrophic moral failure." read more
"Today the problem of uneven vaccination has become more acute," Xi said in a video address. "It is imperative for us to reject vaccine nationalism and make vaccines more accessible and affordable for developing countries."
China has already supplied 300 million vaccine doses to the rest of the world and will provide more to the best of its ability, he added.
Furthermore, Beijing supports the transfer of technologies from its vaccine companies to other developing countries and trying out joint production with them, Xi said.
The forum on cooperation would be "for vaccine-developing and producing countries, companies and other stakeholders to explore ways of promoting fair and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world," Xi said.
He called on major countries to take up the responsibility to provide more vaccines to developing nations in urgent need.