|© UNICEF Togo/video 2005|
|It costs up to $10 to vaccinate a child living in remote parts of Africa|
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By Jane O'Brien
NEW YORK, 1 April 2005 - UNICEF has reached a partnership agreement with the African Development Bank that could open the door to millions of dollars of financial support for children. The money will be an important step towards helping to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty.
“To get where we want to be by 2015 we need a huge investment – particularly in some countries in West and Central Africa which are behind schedule in providing water, education, health care and protection for children,” says Gianni Murzi, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “The Bank is showing interest in making sure countries get closer to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.”
The Bank, like other major financial institutions, is increasingly investing in the social sector. This new partnership with UNICEF means more money will go towards children’s health care, education and protection.
“If we want true development in any country there should be good investment and not just in infrastructure. We need that too, but we also need to invest in the ‘soft’ part of development – such as providing vaccinations,” says Mr. Murzi.
The Bank provides loans and grants to African countries, and UNICEF will work with governments and other partners to ensure that the funds are used in the best interests of African children.
Discussions are already taking place with a number of central African countries to find ways of investing in child protection schemes that would reduce trafficking and other exploitation.
UNICEF will also help countries develop their own expertise in buying essential supplies for children using funds from the Bank. These include school materials, vaccinations and bed nets.
African children receive support from Bank