Citi, the leading global bank, announced it has been selected by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as the financial advisor for the latter’s COVAX Facility, the global procurement mechanism for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, a global, multilateral initiative aimed at developing, manufacturing and deploying COVID-19 vaccines on a fair and equitable basis. It is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in addition to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
It works in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, civil society organisations and others.
Citi will provide Gavi with expert advice on structures to mitigate sovereign, credit and operational risk, as the COVAX Facility seeks to facilitate pooled procurement and equitable distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. These will be provided by multiple pharmaceutical manufacturers to all COVAX participating economies, once they reach licensure.
”Citi considers this assignment to be a clear demonstration of who we are as a firm, and it builds on the work we are doing to help combat this crisis on many fronts,” said Jane Fraser, President of Citigroup and CEO of Global Consumer Banking, “Funding of vaccines is at the core of bringing this crisis to an end, and Citi is honoured to contribute to this unprecedented effort.”
She added, “We are bringing top talent together from around the firm to support Gavi in achieving its global objectives.”
In its first phase, which will last until the end of 2021, the COVAX Facility aims to secure and deliver 2 billion doses of vaccines, which will be distributed to member countries’ populations. The facility currently counts over 180 sovereign government entities as participants.
In its role as advisor, Citi will advise and assist in finding risk mitigation and execution strategies in connection with the facility. This will include supporting the building of strategies to operate and maintain the COVAX Facility.
”COVAX represents the best chance to provide people in all countries with rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they become available,” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley, “We’re delighted to engage Citi, allowing the COVAX Facility to benefit from expert external advice to complement our in-house expertise, supporting our essential work mitigating risk and structuring the COVAX Facility to be as effective as possible.”
Throughout the pandemic, Citi has worked closely with governments and the private sector to find liquidity alternatives and funding solutions in response to COVID-19. This has included large targeted development bank and NGO efforts for the pandemic, including COVID-19 emergency programmes by the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the New Development Bank (NDB), and Gavi’s own International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm). In this, Citi has recently acted as joint bookrunner on its $500m vaccine bond.
”Just, rapid and efficient funding and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines remains our best hope of ending this crisis, and we are committed to optimising the COVAX Facility for that purpose,” said Jay Collins, Vice Chairperson of Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory at Citi and the lead advisor for the Citi team, “The size and complexity of this facility is unprecedented, and its urgency for the world is paramount.”
”We are pleased to partner with Citi on this landmark endeavour, said Assietou Sylla Diouf, Managing Director of Finance & Operations at Gavi, “Never has such a facility been more critical given the crisis we are currently facing.”
Diouf added, “Citi’s presence in over 160 countries and jurisdictions and its expertise will help to ensure the financial mechanics of the COVAX Facility are best able to support COVAX’s ambitious goals of ending the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021.”
Citi remains committed to supporting clients and community partners to help drive a positive socially and environmentally sustainable response to COVID-19. Citi and the Citi Foundation have committed more than $100m to date in support of COVID-19-related community relief efforts globally.
Citi is proud of its efforts to fund stakeholders across multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is particularly proud of the contribution this work with Gavi will make towards SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.