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G7 agrees $650b loan to IMF for COVID-19



UNICEF, COVAX hail G7 commitment to sharing 870m vaccine doses

THE Group of Seven (G7) countries has approved $650 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to end COVID-19 pandemic.

  IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, disclosed the fresh capital injection yesterday at the conclusion of her virtual participation in the G7 Leaders’ Summit.

  Kristalina explained that the G7 support of additional $650 billion allocation of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – the largest issuance in history — will help boost global reserves while providing space for necessary fiscal expenditures to exit the pandemic and enable more sustainable recoveries.

  The G7 is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (U.S.).

  Since 1973, it has served as a formal, high-profile venue for discussing and coordinating solutions to major global issues on trade, security, economics, and climate change.

  Kristalina said the fund would be channeling SDRs and/or budget loans to reach a total global ambition of $100 billion for the most vulnerable countries.

  She said: “This was a consequential summit. The renewed spirit of international cooperation was palpable, with the G7 stepping up its efforts to help the world exit this crisis. I can assure you that the IMF is playing its part.”

  Kristalina added: “I would like to thank Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK authorities for setting up a forward-looking agenda for the G7 summit, focusing on the most pressing challenges facing the world today.

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  “The most urgent part of the plan is to redirect excess vaccine doses from advanced economies to the developing world. I welcome the G7’s commitment of one billion doses in the next year – it will make a material difference in the fight against the pandemic,” she said.

  Meanwhile, United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) yesterday welcomed G7 countries, commitment to immediate sharing of 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in supporting global access and helping to end the pandemic.

  Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, stated this in a release she issued on the way to equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines as the clearest path out of the pandemic for all, including children.

  According to Fore, the commitments announced by G7 members were an important step in that direction.

  Noting the need for a “ramp up” in both the amount and pace of supply, the UNICEF top official added that it is sure bet when it comes to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “The virus mutated and produced new variants that could potentially threaten the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike as the pandemic raged. Distribution and readiness needed clear timelines as to when they would be available, particularly in countries with poor health infrastructure. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of children, affecting every aspect of their lives: their health, education, protection and future prosperity. Now, more than ever, what we do today will have a significant and lasting impact on our collective tomorrows. There is no time to waste,” she added.

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  It will be recalled that G7 has committed one billion doses since the February 2021 virtual G7 Early Leaders’ Summit, including pledges made at the G20 Global Health Summit apart from reaffirming their support for UN-led equitable vaccine distribution initiative,  COVAX, calling it “the primary route for providing vaccines to the poorest countries.

  Similarly, the COVAX alliance welcomed the G7’s commitment, including their continued support for exporting in significant proportions and for promoting voluntary licensing and not-for-profit global production.

  According to them, “the partners look forward to seeing doses flowing to countries as soon as possible.”

  COVAX also said they would work with G7 and other countries that have stepped up to share doses as rapidly and equitably as possible to help address short-term supply constraints, because it will help address short-term supply constraints currently impacting the global response to COVID-19 and minimise the prospect of future deadly variants.

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