Global Infectious Disease Outbreaks and The Private Sector: Can Investment Guarantees Lead to Enhanced Public Health Capacity?

Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH, Richard Seifman, JD, MBA


The relationship between public health capacity to fight infectious diseases and foreign direct investment is circular.  Foreign companies may be wary of investing in a location that lacks the capacity to mitigate the consequences of disease or exposes workers to dangerous pathogens.   Yet, many nations lack the resources to build sufficient capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease without sufficient investments and improve economic status.  Here, we explore how to incentivize and offer some assurances to potential investors contemplating investment in a developing country considered a hotspot for future infectious disease outbreaks, as well as means to encourage development of national capacities to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats.   We suggest that the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), part of the World Bank Group, could guarantee private investment against infectious disease events, based on a formula that rewards countries for making improvements in public health capacity.  

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