Thank you for writing to me about effect of coronavirus on lower-income countries and the UK’s international response. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I am proud that the UK is at the forefront of the global response to Covid-19. There has never been a more important time for us to be out in the world, delivering on our very generous aid commitment, helping the most vulnerable in the world’s poorest countries and showcasing what the UK has to offer globally in terms of our expertise, our science and our influence to convene an international response.
The UK is one of the biggest donors to the response, so far committing up to £769 million of aid to combat coronavirus and reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. This includes £75 million to the World Health Organisation and a package of £200 million to back UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries, which often lack the healthcare systems to track and halt the virus.
The UK is also now the largest single contributor to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), having committed up to £250 million, which is supporting the development of vaccines that will be available across the world. As well as this, the UK is the largest donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and I am proud that the UK hosted the Global Vaccine summit on 4 June, in order to raise vital funds for Gavi, to support their work to protect almost half the world’s children against deadly, preventable diseases.
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Regarding debt repayments, I share your concern about the impact that a major outbreak of coronavirus would have in developing countries across Africa, particularly on their economies. The UK is making available up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund to help developing countries meet their debt repayments, of which £75 million is being provided immediately. The coronavirus outbreak requires an international response, and I welcome the G20’s recently announced agreement to pause $12 billion worth of debt repayments for the poorest countries. Importantly, this will enable these countries to focus available resources on tackling coronavirus and ensure they can direct greater resources to vital healthcare efforts, rather than interest payments.
In this fast-moving situation, it is welcome that the Government is keeping all further international funding under regular review, and I will monitor developments closely.
Thank you again for writing to me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking