The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has proposed a $50 billion program to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to expand immunization campaigns across the world, while vaccine manufacturers promised to deliver billions of doses to developing countries by the end of next year.
The pledges came as Spain announced that it would open its border to all vaccinated travelers next month, boosting hopes that Europe’s tourism season will recover after a bad year.
In Washington, the International Monetary Fund has introduced a $50 billion recovery plan to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2022.
“Our proposal sets targets, estimates financing requirements, and lays out pragmatic action,” IMF head Kristalina Georgieva said at the Global Health Summit held in Rome as part of the G20.
According to a comprehensive research piece prepared by IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath and staff economist Ruchir Agarwal, doing so would inject the equivalent of $9 trillion into the global economy by 2025, with rich countries potentially benefiting the most.
“For some time we have been warning of dangerous divergence of economic fortunes. It will only worsen as the gap widens between wealthy countries that have access to vaccines and poor countries that do not. At the end of April, less than 2 percent of the population of Africa had been vaccinated while more than 40 percent of the population in the United States and over 20 percent in Europe had received at least one dose of vaccine against COVID. The fund is prioritizing closing the vaccine gap to put the world back on the growth path. The goal is to help bring the pandemic substantially under control everywhere for everyone’s benefit.”
The estimate of $50 billion is a combination of at least $35 billion in subsidies, plus resources from governments and other funding, the IMF said.
“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,” the organization added.
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 commented.
According to the IMF authors, G20 countries had already recognized the need for $22 billion in grants to address the crisis, leaving some $13 billion in additional grants needed to reach the $50 billion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 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 added.