Health experts say that the $500 million World Bank scheme to help the poorest countries deal with a health emergency is “too little too late” for the coronavirus outbreak.
These first Pandemic Emergency Financing (PEF) bonds were launched in 2017 by Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank’s president at the time, after the Ebola outbreak in Africa. These “pandemic bonds” were designed to potentially “save millions of lives and entire economies” by funnelling money to nations facing pandemics.
However, critics say the “insanely complicated” terms of these high-interest “pandemic bonds” are heavily skewed towards investors. Unfortunately for the victims any payouts may come too late, if at all.
One economist described the “pandemic bonds”, payouts from which depend on how deadly the outbreak is, as “obscene”.
Olga Jonas, who was an economist at the World Bank for three decades, said: “What’s obscene is that the World Bank set it up this way. It waits for people to die.”