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Global Fund, Côte d'Ivoire and Germany sign agreement to convert debt into resources to fight AIDS

16 September 2010

Geneva – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Germany and Côte D’Ivoire today signed a debt swap agreement that supports HIV/AIDS programs in Côte d’Ivoire.

Under the Debt2Health agreement, Germany will cancel €19million of Côte d’Ivoire’s debt. In return, Côte d’Ivoire will invest half of this amount in national programs to combat HIV/AIDS through the Global Fund.

The HIV prevalence rate in the West African country is 3.9 %. The Global Fund supports programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Côte D’Ivoire with approved funding of more than US$280 million.

Côte D’Ivoire is the first African country to benefit from Debt2Health, an initiative launched by the Global Fund to help generate additional domestic resources for health financing through debt swaps. To date a total of €163.6 million (US$212.5 million) has been written off in swap agreements between creditor and debtor countries.

“Germany has pioneered this initiative and continues to be a leader in innovative financing. I am extremely pleased to see Debt2Health reaching Africa”, said Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “This agreement comes just as countries meet at the United Nations to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. With only five years until the MDGs deadline, every additional dollar raised is crucial.”

The first Debt2Health agreement was signed in September 2007. Germany was the first creditor to swap €50 million in Indonesia, freeing up half of that amount to be invested in HIV and AIDS programs. At that time, the German government also entered into a Framework Agreement with the Global Fund to make available a total of €200 million for global health financing through Debt2Health by 2010. In November 2008, Germany signed a second agreement, with Pakistan, to swap €40 million half of which is to finance tuberculosis interventions.