GAVI initiatives applauded in Japan

Media Release: GAVI initiatives applauded in Japan
Programmes in public-private partnership, such as IFFIm, held up as models for Japanese corporate sector
Tokyo, 11 October 2012 – [Excerpt]
GAVI’s success in partnering with the private sector was highlighted at a global health symposium of Japanese companies in Tokyo today, supported by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Companies can “make a reasonable profit and help people at the same time,” said Shiro Konuma, director of the Global Health Policy Division within the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Governments always must keep in mind the raison d’etre of private companies. That is the starting point. But we all share the responsibility to help save lives.”

Vaccine bonds
Japan recently made its second direct donation to GAVI, and the Japanese public has been responsible for about a quarter of GAVI’s funding through Japan’s uridashi bond market, noted GAVI CEO Seth Berkley, a featured speaker alongside those from the Health & Global Policy Institite (HGPI) think tank, and a panel discussion with five Japanese companies and UNICEF.

Among them was Daiwa Securities, which helped introduce “vaccine bonds” in Japan to benefit GAVI through IFFIm, the International Finance Facility for Immunisation. IFFIm overall has raised US$ 3.7 billion through bonds backed by the pledges of nine donor governments, funding about half of GAVI’s programmes, Berkley notes. And about US$ 2 billion of it has come from Japanese investors.

IFFIm link
IFFIm was consistently cited by the panel as an example of good business that has benefited public health. It “seems like water and oil, but IFFIm is the link,” said Satoru Yamamoto, director/head of International Investors Services at Daiwa. Underwriters like Daiwa can expand and market their business to Japanese investors, who secure both a financial and a social return…