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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Rock stars and religious leaders will be among those on hand in London today to buy a special type of bond. Money raised by these bonds will go towards a massive vaccination program. It’s hoped that program will save millions of lives in developing countries. From London, Stephen Beard reports.
STEPHEN BEARD: The bonds will raise a billion dollars. Further sales could generate many billions more.
The money will be used by a Bill Gates charity to vaccinate 500 million children.
The Pope will snap up one of the first of the bonds issued today, but he’ll be joined by thousands of hard-headed investors too.
The bonds, backed by a number of governments, will pay a higher rate of interest than US treasuries.
It’s all part of a scheme dreamed up by the British Finance Chief Gordon Brown. His idea: to borrow billions so we can vaccinate now.
GORDON BROWN: There is no better case for advancing money than vaccination because if you can immunize 100% of the people then you avoid others who might not be vaccinated spreading disease.
Participating governments have agreed to repay bondholders using future humanitarian relief budgets. But that makes the scheme controversial and is the reason the US government is not taking part.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.