Who is funding the fight against the effects of COVID-19 and what are the priorities?

Since the beginning of 2020, governments, bilateral donors, multilateral institutions, philanthropic donors, NGOs and the private sector have committed more than $4.6 billion to the fight against COVID-19. But this figure represents only a prelude to what will be committed in the coming months.

An analysis of global funding data shows a total of 245 funding activities, grants and business opportunities specifically targeting the fight against "COVID-19" or "coronavirus," according to funding announcements released between Jan. 1 and March 24 of this year.

Who are the funders?

National governments are supporting initiatives worth at least $2.9 billion, including a funding package totaling $1 billion focused on negative impacts on the U.S. economy. Government funding is largely focused on responding to the COVID-19 health crisis as well as its economic impacts. Country-specific initiatives account for 83% of the total, while programs with a regional or global focus make up the remaining 17%.

Multilateral institutions are supporting 65 initiatives with a known value of $1.1 billion. The European Union is committing funding worth $1 trillion across 11 initiatives, including $41 billion for coronavirus-related healthcare costs across Eastern and Western Europe.

Multilateral funding has so far been split evenly between country-specific and multi-regional initiatives.

Bilateral funders have so far announced investments or contributions in initiatives worth $594 billion, most of which come from the KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) to protect the German economy from the effects of the new coronavirus. In terms of geographical footprint, Asia and Africa are a key focus.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is supporting a total of 13 initiatives with a known value of $126 million. Of these, 11 are country-specific, including $2 million in support for Cambodia and $1.8 million in support for Nepal and Ethiopia.

For its part, the UK Department for International Development has so far announced three global support initiatives, with a known value of $30 million.

Non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations are supporting $165 million worth of initiatives focused on Africa, including initiatives to strengthen research. But the response to COVID-19 is the main focus of this sector.

Philanthropic donors have announced 36 initiatives with a known value of $1.3 billion. Global response programs are the focus, followed by support for Africa. For vaccines and treatments, this sector supports programs worth $343 million, including $125 million to support treatment development funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Mastercard Impact Fund.

The private sector supports a total of 47 initiatives with a known value of $2.3 billion, of which 37 are country-focused, including a $1 million investment by Rio Tinto to address the outbreak in China.

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