September 17, 2014
The signing ceremony was held via a video conference system connecting Tokyo and Seattle.
Mr. Hiroshi Kato, Vice-President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Dr. Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation), today signed an innovative financing agreement to support the polio eradication campaign in Nigeria.
As part of the partnership, the Government of Japan agrees to provide an Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan of up to 8.285 billion yen (77 million USD) to the Federal Government of Nigeria to support polio eradication efforts and the procurement of 476 million oral polio vaccine doses to inoculate children under five throughout Nigeria.
Dr. Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Photo: BMGF/Rachel Lonsdale)
JICA Vice President Hiroshi Kato
The loan applies an innovative financing approach referred to as a “Loan Conversion” mechanism. Under the agreement, the Gates Foundation will repay the loan to JICA on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria if the project is successfully implemented by the Nigerian government. The aim of this innovative mechanism is to support the recipient government’s commitment to polio eradication efforts without imposing a financial burden. This is the second case for JICA to apply this loan conversion mechanism with the Gates Foundation after the loan to Pakistan in 2011.
With the largest population and scale of economy in Africa, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of economic growth in the world, but also higher maternal mortality and child mortality rates than other African nations. Nigeria is one of only three countries in the world where polio has not been eliminated (is endemic) and the only one in Africa. Earlier this year, due to the threat of the virus spreading internationally and to protect the progress to date, the World Health Organization declared polio a public health emergency of international concern.
The Federal Government of Nigeria established the Presidential Task Force of Polio Eradication and launched the Nigeria Polio Eradication Emergency Plan in 2012. The number of polio cases in Nigeria has steadily fallen in the past few years from 122 in 2012 to 53 in 2013 to only 6 so far in 2014 as of September 3, 2014. This steady decline in cases represents major progress in stopping the transmission of polio. On the other hand, the funding requirement for 2014-2015 remains a challenge.
Japan’s long-standing support for polio eradication around the world is in line with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)’s framework in partnership with stakeholders such as the World Bank for co-financing as well as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for vaccine procurement and the World Health Organization (WHO) for service delivery of the polio campaign. This collaborative partnership together with the Japanese ODA loan will help the Federal Government of Nigeria to step up its activities to eradicate polio from the entire country.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) assists developing countries as the executing agency of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA). In accordance with its vision of “Inclusive and Dynamic Development,” JICA supports the resolution of issues of developing countries by using the most suitable tools of various assistance methods, such as technical cooperation, ODA loans and grant aid in an integrated manner.
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The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments and spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, UNICEF, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since 1988, more than 20 million volunteers have supported the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in its goal to end polio worldwide.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the Foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett