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14th July, 2015

Africa's expectation of the Global Financing Facility


Topic
Coordinator's Corner
Global Financing Facility


We all gathered in the afternoon of Monday July 13, 2015 to witness the launch of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child by the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon in partnership with African heads of states and leaders of international development organisations.

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The event took place at the Africa Hall of the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the third United Nations Finance for Development Conference.

At the launch, the World Bank Group announced a new GFF partnership with its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to raise funds from capital markets for countries with significant funding gaps for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH).

The United Nations, the World Bank Group, and the Governments of Canada, Norway and the United States joined country and global health leaders to launch the GFF in support of Every Woman Every Child, and announced that $12 billion in domestic and international, private and public funding has already been aligned to country-led five-year investment plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in the four GFF front-runner countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

During the ceremony the GFF partners also announced the next group of eight countries to benefit from the GFF, with the goal of supporting a total of 62 high-burden low- and lower-middle income countries within five years.

The GFF is adding Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda as the second wave of GFF countries. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Japan, and the United States announced new financing commitments totalling $214 million. This is in addition to commitments previously made by Norway and Canada of $600 million and $200 million, respectively, to the World Bank Group-managed GFF Trust Fund.

World leaders made the following comments:

Dr. Kesete Admasu, Minister of Health, Ethiopia:

“Despite the strong gains we have made over the past decade, child and especially maternal mortality remain unacceptably high in Ethiopia. The GFF represents the chance to strengthen our efforts to improve the health of mothers and children, in Ethiopia and throughout the world. By firmly situating reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health—RMNCAH—within the broader health context, the GFF is well-aligned with the Ethiopian context, strengthens our health system, and contributes to our vision of a healthy, productive, and prosperous Ethiopia. I hope it will be possible for many more countries to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.”

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General:

"Our vision is clear: to end all preventable maternal, child and adolescent deaths within a generation and ensure that women, children and adolescents thrive. We need innovative financing at scale and game-changing partnerships to support the updated Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health and Every Woman Every Child movement. Today, I will formally launch the Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child, a key financing platform for this updated Global Strategy."

While the excitement was very high in the afternoon launch, the same cannot be said for the pre-launch GFF consultation with NGOs, organised by the team managing the GFF. The NGOs present, particularly those from Africa, raised concerns which are expected to be taken into consideration during the implementation phase of the GFF.

Africa’s expectations

  • The majority of the African NGOs present expressed concerns around not being actively involved and carried along by their governments during the engagement process, and not being part of the country platforms that will direct the affairs of GFF.
  • In the selection of the 2 representatives of NGOs that will become members of the GFF Investors Group, the NGOs strongly advocated that one of the representatives should come from Africa, which so far has 10 of the 12 countries listed to benefit from the GFF. The selection process should be transparent and carry the African NGOs along in determining who should be chosen, and the organisation chosen should have a pedigree of genuine long term commitment to NGO participation in the affairs of GFF.
  • Improving accountability and transparency of GFF in Africa should be more than the routine financial auditing process by World Bank and its investors but rather should be more engaging and encompass performance monitoring, matching financial investments with health outcomes and deepening citizens’ participation and feedback at country level, continental and global.
  • The GFF team should support a movement in Africa at regional level that supports regular flow of information and engagement of NGOs in budget tracking and accountability efforts.
  • The capacity of NGOs in Africa should be enhanced for them to strategically participate in the monitoring and accountability of GFF. This could be achieved via trainings, mentorship, face to face and virtual interaction.
  • Lastly the investors are encouraged to provide a small separate grant to NGOs in Africa to allow them to provide oversight and performance monitoring which invariably protects investments and improves transparency and accountability.

While I wish the World Bank GFF all the best in the implementation, it is my wish and prayer that the team study the concerns of the African NGOs and align some of their plans and action with the issues raised.

"End all preventable maternal, child and adolescent deaths within a generation and ensure that women, children and adolescents thrive."

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