Health sector investments present an opportunity for the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), under the Biden-Harris administration, to demonstrate meaningful global leadership and refocus on its development mandate, driving broader health benefits and contributing to global economic recovery. DFC’s early days have been defined by a mixed record, notably in the health sector. Still, in the context of the pandemic’s health and economic impacts, the agency is well positioned to help strengthen pandemic preparedness and expand equitable access to health products and innovation in low- and middle-income countries. Through investments to build private sector manufacturing and delivery capacity, DFC can help stem and reverse these losses and insure against future health crises.
This policy paper explores how DFC can strategically invest in health while balancing sometimes competing policy imperatives related to health equity, commercial viability, and foreign policy interests. We first provide an overview of the development finance landscape in the health sector and select DFC health-focused investments to date. We then suggest three high-impact engagement opportunities in the health sector for DFC to consider, including building regional manufacturing hubs for health supplies; providing R&D incentives for biotechnology; and supporting robust supply chains for health-adjacent services and delivery models. Lastly, we outline key principles to guide future DFC health sector investments, such as compatibility with long-term universal health coverage goals, a learning agenda for development effectiveness, and health-specific considerations for additionality and co-financing.
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