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JICA USA September/October 2014

JICA signs innovative financing agreement with Gates Foundation for Polio eradication in Nigeria

PhotoThe signing ceremony was held via a video conference system connecting Tokyo and Seattle.

On September 17, 2014 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) 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 (approximately 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 the age of five throughout Nigeria. 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 its polio eradication efforts without imposing a financial burden. This is the second time JICA applies this loan conversion mechanism with the Gates Foundation, having used it in 2011 with a loan to Pakistan.

Having the largest population and economies of scale in Africa, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of economic growth in the world. Despite rapid growth, it has 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, and the only one in Africa where the disease is endemic. Earlier this year, due to the threat of the virus spreading across borders and as a measure to protect the progress to date, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared polio a public health emergency of international concern.

The Federal Government of Nigeria established the Presidential Task Force on 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 as of September 3rd for 2014. This steady decline in cases represents major progress in stopping the transmission of polio. Even so, 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. The partnership brings together different stakeholders such as the World Bank for co-financing, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for vaccine procurement and the WHO for service delivery of the polio campaign. This collaborative partnership, coupled with the Japanese ODA loan, will help the Federal Government of Nigeria step up its activities to eradicate polio from the entire country.

PhotoDr. Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Photo: BMGF/Rachel Lonsdale)

PhotoJICA Vice President Hiroshi Kato


About

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

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 developing countries' issues by using the most suitable assistance mechanisms, such as technical cooperation, ODA loans and grant aid in an integrated manner.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) 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 GPEI in its goal to end polio worldwide.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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.


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