Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, in her capacity as chair of the Joint World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Development Committee, has highlighted reaching a clearing arrangement for excess orders of COVID-19 vaccines as one of the steps that can be taken to ensure developing countries receive their share of the vaccines.
While delivering the keynote address online on Monday, at the opening of the 53rd Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mia Mottley said the vaccine arrangement was needed as countries battled to obtain vaccines for their citizens.
“Some long-term solutions have been suggested that are worth serious consideration. One step we can also take is to reach a clearing arrangement for excess orders of vaccines. We should require written “clearing” agreements from those who have ordered more than they need.
“Once those vaccinated exceed the herd immunity threshold, they would agree to retain some more modest surplus and ask the producers to produce and deliver the excess at cost to developing countries. Even then, we are at the back of the queue. Those excess vaccines should be above the amounts agreed to under COVAX, which only deals with 20 percent of our populations. There must be early intervention,” she insisted.
Mottley said vaccinating only a part of the world’s population would not work, as this provides fertile ground for vaccine-resistant variances.
“Some large countries have purchased five times or more vaccines than they need using complex, opaque option arrangements that make it hard for vaccine producers to plan and to sell further production. So much for debt transparency. Small buyers do not even get a look-in.”
The prime minister stated that to scale up the resource transfer needed to address COVID and climate change, rich countries were being called on to pledge half of their new and unused Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to recapitalize development banks like the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank.
“They must use this capital to leverage more long-term lending to those heavily impacted by COVID and the climate crisis to support green, resilient and inclusive development…
“But it’s not just the level of lending that matters, it is also the speed of lending. Our needs are immediate. The development banks have been well-meaning, yes they have been. But they have been slow…They must commit to the timing of their disbursements,” she indicated.