In April 2021, The World Bank announced that it had closed its Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) – the program that sold pandemic bonds to capital markets investors.
The program raised a few hundred million dollars and 64 countries received payments to help them with their Covid-19 responses. However, many were critical of the program, and the announcement that the initiative has closed is no surprise to most, but there remains a significant funding gap for developing countries when the next pandemic hits.
So, for our poll in March 2023, we asked Life Risk News readers, “Will Pandemic Bonds Ever Return?”
Very few – only 5.9% – think so. The balance of respondents is split between a firm ‘No’ – 52.9% – and ‘Unsure’ – 41.2%.
Arguably, the return of pandemic bonds is unlikely in the short term – last year, the World Bank announced a new Pandemic Fund which has received $715m in contributions from governments at the time of writing. But a large funding gap remains, and pandemic bonds are one way to provide access to capital for developing countries that need support to fight future pandemics. Time will tell whether they ever return.