Religions Unite to Launch Vaccine Bond

November 11, 2006

Author: Christina Fincher

Source: IOL

Wire Service: Reuters

London - Representatives of the world's leading religions will on Tuesday buy the first bonds in a pioneering $1-billion issue to fund life-saving vaccine projects.

The bond sale is the first of its kind to tap the international capital markets for money to fight preventable diseases like measles, polio and tetanus, which kill more than two million children a year in impoverished countries.

The scheme is the brainchild of British finance minister Gordon Brown, who has long campaigned for bond financing as a way of "front-loading" development aid.

This week's offering is only the first leg of the initiative, which aims to raise $4-billion in the bond markets over the next 10 years.

"With this bond we will ultimately raise an extra $4-billion to deliver life-saving vaccines to children in the poorest countries," Brown will tell a reception in London, attended by a coalition of religious leaders, his office said.

"This will immunise 500-million children by 2015 saving ten million lives, and help to eradicate polio from the world."