DFC joins with DFIs to collaborate on surge financing for health emergencies

3 min readSep 20, 2023

When COVID-19 presented a global health emergency more than three years ago, it also exposed weaknesses in health financing that led to delays and inequities in distributing essential vaccines, tests, and treatments for low- and middle-income countries.

This week, DFC and leading development finance institutions announced a sweeping collaboration to address those challenges and ensure a swifter and more equitable response going forward. The group will collaborate on surge financing during future health crises to help ensure widespread and equitable access to “medical countermeasures,” including vaccines, tests, treatments, and other supplies needed for an outbreak.

“Despite historic efforts during COVID-19, the world was unable to provide fast, equitable access to vaccines, tests, and treatments to low- and middle-income countries,” DFC CEO Scott Nathan said.

“Here, development finance institutions like DFC and our peers have a critical role to play. DFIs can work together to provide upfront liquidity — what we call surge financing — to promote a faster and more equitable response to the next global health crisis.”

The collaboration framework, which emerged from the meeting of the G7 earlier this year in Hiroshima, brings together DFC, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and each participating G7 DFI, as well as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In a Joint Statement of Intent, the DFI leaders committed to forming a dedicated working group focused on rapid response to pandemics and other health emergencies. The group will work together and meet on a quarterly basis to chart progress and respond rapidly to emerging threats. They also agreed to explore ways to advance financing for equitable procurement, surge production, and delivery of vaccines, tests, treatments, and other critical supplies for low- and middle-income countries in the earliest days of a health emergency. The collaboration framework and these concrete, innovative options for surge financing are outlined further in the Chair’s Summary and Report.

“Together, we seek to use innovative finance to forge rapid, equitable responses to pandemics and other health emergencies to save lives, avoid societal losses, and achieve sustainable development,” the DFIs said in the joint statement.

DFIs play a critical role in pandemic preparedness and health system resilience by providing debt, equity, and other investment capital to commercial entities whose work has development impact and is aligned with foreign policy priorities. For example, DFC and many DFIs have invested in expanding vaccine manufacturing and distribution capacity.

For DFC, this partnership advances ongoing work to strengthen global health resilience to boost preparedness for future pandemics and other health crises. Three years ago, DFC launched its Global Health and Prosperity Initiative in recognition that resilient health systems are essential to global prosperity, stability, and security. Since then, DFC has committed nearly $2.6 billion in health services, medical manufacturing and supply chains, and technologies to strengthen health systems.

To learn more about the collaboration, see:

Joint Statement of Intent
Chair’s Summary
Full Report




U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Investing in development and advancing U.S. foreign policy. Twitter: @DFCgov