DFC CEO Scott Nathan Remarks on Surge Financing for Medical Countermeasures at the UN General Assembly

CEO Scott Nathan

September 20, 2023

New York, NY

As prepared for delivery

Welcome, and thank you all for being with us today.

I am pleased to speak on behalf of the United States International Development Finance Corporation, America’s development finance institution.

At DFC, the organization I am proud to lead, we have made investing in robust and resilient health systems one of our highest priorities.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DFC responded swiftly by providing liquidity for health products and services while also investing in regional manufacturing of vaccines. More broadly, since 2020, DFC has invested over $2.6 billion in health services, supply chains, technologies, WASH, and nutrition. We are working in partnership with many of you here today to ensure that countries around the world are better prepared to respond to the next crisis.

Ambassador Akahori, I want to thank you in particular for your partnership, and for Japan’s leadership as G7 president, to address global health challenges.

The G7 is playing a vital role in taking lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding where there are gaps, and developing tools for a more effective, coordinated response to any future health crises.

Despite all of the efforts during the pandemic, there just wasn’t fast enough, equitable access to vaccines, treatments, and tests for low- and middle-income countries.

Many in these countries waited too long to receive vaccines. These delays cost lives and caused damage to economic activity and opportunity.

Today, nearly three years after the development of the first COVID-19 vaccines, these lessons are even more clear.

One of the central causes driving the disparities in delivery times for vaccines and medical countermeasures was that many health organizations and national health systems lacked the capital they needed to place early orders from vaccine manufacturers.

In fact, studies show that a lack of capital required to sign early purchase agreements caused up to 75% of vaccine delivery delays.

Here, development finance institutions like DFC and our peers have a critical role to play.

DFIs can work together to provide upfront liquidity—what we call surge financing—to promote a faster and more equitable response to the next global health crisis.

Today DFC, alongside our G7 partners, is taking more important steps to respond to the call President Biden and his counterparts made in Hiroshima last May for DFIs to work together.

With the Joint Statement of Intent from G7 DFIs, as well as the EIB and IFC, that was released today, we have established a framework for continued collaboration. We have a blueprint for working together to provide surge financing for procurement, production, and delivery of medical countermeasures in low- and middle-income countries.

Together, with strong support from USAID and our DFI and global health partners, we plan to expand facilities for upfront liquidity, allowing procurers to secure the products they need at the start of any future health crisis.

We will also work with peer DFIs to provide working capital to regional manufacturers. This support will be crucial, allowing producers to pivot and scale up efforts in response to specific needs during a health emergency.

These efforts build on what DFC has already achieved in developing financing solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re proud of our work with Gavi and regional vaccine manufacturers across the world and will ramp up these efforts as we move from COVID-19 response to pandemic preparedness for the future.

DFC and Gavi intend to launch an effort that is more ambitious, more comprehensive, and more expansive, delivering a full range of critical immunizations, by broadening and taking advantage of our $1 billion facility with Gavi to meet pressing needs including COVID-19, childhood diseases, and vaccines for potential outbreaks.

Stay tuned for more to come on that; we’re excited about our ability to broaden this effort.

Continued investment and coordination to promote timely delivery of medical countermeasures will save lives.

Looking out at the leaders in this room and the organizations represented today, I am confident we have the will and resources to ensure a faster and more equitable response to the next health emergency.

I am pleased we will hear from one of the most important leaders in this effort, Ambassador Takeshi Akahori, and I will turn it to Monisha to introduce him next. Thank you to all of you here for your commitment to these critical efforts; it’s great that we can all be together for this event.