The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative—the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX)—offering rapid and equitable support to its developing members as they procure and deliver effective and safe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
“As ADB’s developing members prepare to vaccinate their people as soon as possible, they need financing to procure vaccines as well as appropriate plans and knowledge to be able to safely, equitably, and efficiently manage the vaccination process,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “APVAX will play a critical role in helping our developing members meet these challenges, overcome the pandemic, and focus on economic recovery.”
More than 14.3 million positive cases have been identified in Asia and the Pacific, causing more than 200,000 deaths. As the pandemic persists, economic growth in developing Asia is projected to contract by 0.4% in 2020—the first regional gross domestic product contraction since the early 1960s.
Promoting safe, equitable, and effective access to vaccines is a top priority for ADB’s COVID-19 response efforts. Vaccination programs can break the chain of virus transmission, save lives, and mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic by restoring confidence in people’s ability to work, travel, and socialize safely.
The APVAX provides a comprehensive framework and resource envelope for supporting developing Asia’s vaccine access, using two complementary components. The Rapid Response Component will provide timely support for critical vaccine diagnostics, procurement of vaccines, and transporting vaccines from the place of purchase to ADB’s developing members.
The Project Investment Component will support investments in systems for successful distribution, delivery, and administration of vaccines along with associated investments in building capacity, community outreach, and surveillance. This may include such areas as cold-chain storage and transportation, vehicles, distribution infrastructure, processing facilities, and other physical investments. The component may also be used to develop or expand vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing members.
ADB financing for vaccines will be provided in close coordination with other development partners including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), GAVI, and bilateral and multilateral partners.
APVAX promotes safe and effective vaccines to be accessed in a fair manner. For a vaccine to be eligible for financing, it must meet one of three criteria. It must be procured via COVAX, prequalified by WHO, or authorized by a Stringent Regulatory Authority. Additional access criteria, such as a vaccination needs assessment, a vaccine allocation plan by the developing member, and a mechanism for effective coordination among development partners also help ensure that vaccine support under APVAX can be fairly and effectively implemented.
ADB is also making available a $500 million Vaccine Import Facility to support the efforts of its developing members to secure safe and effective vaccines, as well as the goods that support distribution and inoculation. The facility is part of ADB’s Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program. AAA-guarantees available through the program’s vaccine import facility will mitigate payment risks and facilitate import of these goods. This will employ the same eligibility criteria on vaccines as COVAX. Cofinancing with private sector partners could result in the Import Facility supporting $1 billion in vaccine and related imports within a year.
In April, ADB approved a $20 billion package to support its developing members in addressing the impacts of the pandemic and streamlined some procedures to deliver quicker and more flexible assistance. ADB has committed $14.9 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance, including $9.9 billion in quick-disbursing budget support from the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option (CPRO) and support for the private sector.
In November, ADB announced $20.3 million in additional technical assistance to establish systems to enable efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across Asia and the Pacific.
Women in Albania to Gain Greater Access to Global Digital Jobs Market
“Digital Jobs Albania” is a new World Bank initiative that will help women in Albania gain better access to online work opportunities and connect with the global economy. The initiative will provide intensive 3-month training in digital skills for women aged 16-35 years, empowering them to access online freelancer job opportunities in graphic design, web development and digital marketing.
The emergence of online freelancer job markets is creating new opportunities for Albanians to connect with the global economy. Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and People Per Hour allow Albanians with the right skills to access online project work commissioned by companies and individuals anywhere in the world, while staying in their local communities.
Women in particular stand to gain. The female labor force participation in Albania is still 14.6 percentage points lower than for males. The gender pay gap remains 6.6 percent, according to 2020 data from the Albanian National Statistical Authority (INSTAT). The emerging online freelancing work model can play an important role in narrowing these gaps. Flexible work hours and the ability to work from home can help more women with the right skills stay in the labor market and gain financial independence.
The Digital Jobs Albania initiative, implemented in partnership with the Government of Albania, Coderstrust (an international digital skills training provider), and EuroPartners Development (a local consulting company), will provide an online training program to equip selected participants with in-demand technical skills. It will also provide mentorship to participants and help them develop the soft skills needed to successfully compete for project work on online freelancer websites.
“This initiative offers an exciting new opportunity for Albanian women to acquire digital skills and join the online economy – a blueprint to inspire future projects in this space,” says Emanuel Salinas, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “No one can afford to be left behind in the ongoing digital transformation.”
The initiative is part of broader ongoing World Bank engagement in Albania to help the country leverage the economic opportunities associated with digital trade in goods and services.
“Albania has recognized the importance of digital markets as an opportunity for economic development. We have mobilized a team from across the World Bank to support this effort, through this new initiative and others in the future,” says Christoph Ungerer, the World Bank task team leader for the Albania Digital Trade Project.
World Economic Forum Plans 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters
The World Economic Forum plans to convene the world’s foremost leaders for the Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Taking place in person from 17-21 January, the Annual Meeting 2022 will be the first global leadership event to set the agenda for a sustainable recovery.
The pandemic has exacerbated fractures across society. It is a critical year for leaders to come together and shape necessary partnerships and policies. The meeting will bring together forward-thinking leaders to drive multistakeholder collaboration and address the world’s most pressing economic, political and societal challenges. Further details will be announced in due course.
The wellbeing of our participants, staff, service providers and hosts is a priority. Therefore, the World Economic Forum is working closely with the Swiss authorities, as well as with experts, national and international health organizations to put in place measures for the Annual Meeting 2022 that are appropriate and adapted to the context.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum said “The pandemic has brought far-reaching changes. In a world full of uncertainty and tension, personal dialogue is more important than ever. Leaders have an obligation to work together and rebuild trust, increase global cooperation and work towards sustainable, bold solutions.”
Progressing cooperation on tackling climate change, building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be important topics on the agenda.
Ahead of the Annual Meeting 2022, the Forum will host the fifth Sustainable Development Impact Summit to take place virtually from 20 to 23 September 2021 in the context of the United Nations General Assembly. The summit will convene under the theme Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It will welcome almost leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Spain’s PM Speaks with Global CEOs on Strategic Priorities in Post-Pandemic Era
The World Economic Forum today hosted a “Country Strategy Dialogue on Spain with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez” for its partners, chaired by Børge Brende, President of the Forum. The session gave CEOs from around the world an opportunity to hear directly from Sánchez on the factors behind Spain’s remarkable resilience to the economic shocks of the pandemic and its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.
In the virtual session, Sánchez explained his government’s policy priorities and answered questions from CEOs on promoting innovation, a digital economy, a green transition and social justice in Spain, and on improving the enabling environment for long-term investors.
“After deploying unprecedented economic, financial and social measures to protect our economies, Spain is experiencing strong recovery. We want to build the economy of the future, and to do it in an inclusive way, leaving no one behind. We want to attract top talent and quality, innovation-centric investments. In summary, we want to transform the Spanish economy and we want to do it together with the private sector,” he said.
“The world economy is again growing. Spain is on track to be one of the fastest-growing economies among G20 countries. With Spain being among the key stakeholders in the European Union recovery fund, Prime Minister Sánchez and his government have provided important leadership on how to use the current momentum for a truly transformative agenda, for Spain, but also for Europe.” said Brende.
More than 80 partners of the World Economic Forum from around the world participated in the virtual session.
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