Cameron: We will protect at least a quarter of a billion children against killer diseases

Cameron development speech in full

Cameron development speech in full

Read David Cameron's speech on vaccines and development in full on

Tabitha Muikali is thirty-two years old.
She lives in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi.
Last year, her eldest son John contracted pneumonia.
For a month, he lay in agony, battling the disease.
It was a fight, ultimately, that he did not win.
He died aged just one.
Someone like John dies every twenty seconds.
Three times a minute a mother like Tabitha will see her entire world fall apart.
Today we have a chance right here, right now, to change that.
That’s why the UK is hosting this conference…
…together with Bill Gates, whose Foundation has done so much to lead the fight for vaccines and immunization across our world…
…and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, whose leadership in turning her country around in just eight short years is inspirational.
And it’s why we have invited you…
…countries pledging money for the very first time, like Brazil and Japan…
…and companies like GSK and the Serum Institute who have such a vital role in producing vaccines at low cost.
GAVI is quite simply a great organisation.
It was set up by people who wanted to do aid in a different way.
And to my mind that is exactly what it has achieved.
GAVI was one of the very top performers in our root-and-branch review of the agencies that deliver with British aid.
Because it delivers tangible results – saving lives with excellent value for money.
First, it brings together national governments, private companies and donors, with the mechanisms they need to deliver vaccines to children
Second, GAVI uses innovative finance to generate additional sources of revenue for vaccines.
And third it pools demand – creating strong buying power to drive down the cost of vaccines.
Only last week the Serum Institute and Panacea Biotec agreed to lower prices for the life-saving pentavalent vaccine, which protects against five deadly diseases.
And GlaxoSmithKline offered the rotavirus vaccine to GAVI at $2.50 per dose – cutting the lowest available price by more than two-thirds.
As a result of all this, over a decade, GAVI has helped prevent 5.4 million deaths and immunise more than 288 million children in 72 of the world’s poorest countries.
That in my view is a record worth investing in.
So today we come together, because we have the chance to save another 4 million lives by funding vaccines against diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.
Frankly the idea of children dying from pneumonia or diarrhoea should be absolutely unthinkable in 2011.
And for most of us, thankfully, it is.
But for many parents in the developing world – parents like Tabitha – it is a devastating reality.
Nelson Mandela once said: “Life or death for a young child too often depends on whether it is born in a country where vaccines are available.”
Today we can help end that cruel lottery.
And I am delighted to say that Britain will play its full part.
In addition to our existing support for GAVI we will contribute £814 million pounds of new funding up to 2015.
This will help vaccinate over 80 million children and save 1.4 million lives.
That’s one child vaccinated every two seconds for five years.
One child’s life saved every two minutes.
That is what the money the British taxpayer is putting in will achieve.
And £50 million of our contribution is matched funding to incentivise further private sector donations.

Now I want to put today’s announcement in the context of this government’s approach to tackling poverty.
In the long term I know we will not help countries develop by just giving them money.
At home we don’t tackle poverty by state hand-outs, we help people to get into work, to stand on their own two feet and take control of their own destiny.
The same should be true of development.
No country has ever pulled itself out of poverty through aid alone.
So this Government is taking a new approach.
The same conditions create prosperity the world over.
They include access to markets, property rights, private sector investment…
… and they make up what I see as the golden thread of successful development.
Ultimately it is the private sector that will be the engine for growth.
That is why this government’s efforts will increasingly focus on helping developing countries to achieve private-sector led growth with the jobs and opportunities it will bring.
Already, Andrew Mitchell has created a new private sector department in DFID to bring private sector DNA into government, and use government know-how to create the right environment for business.
We will also use all of our diplomatic and aid levers to support the creation of an Africa Free Trade Area – one of the most significant potential achievements that this government can help with.
Our Embassies will do far more to support trade in Africa…
…and we will use some of the DFID budget to make Africa an attractive place to trade and invest in…
…by professionalising cross-border customs services,
…by investing in projects which will provide roads, the internet, and infrastructure…
…and by helping companies do business in ways that are not only good for profits but good for development too.
Because I don’t want to see the people of Africa as recipients of charity.
I want to see them as trading partners…
…as partners in economic opportunity.
That’s what I believe in and that’s what this government will work to achieve.
We want the people of Africa to climb the ladder of prosperity
But when the bottom rungs of that ladder are broken by disease and preventable death on a massive scale…
…when countries can’t even get on the bottom rung of the growth ladder because one in seven of their children die before they reach their fifth birthday…
…we have to take urgent action.
We have to save lives.
And then we can help people to live.
So that’s where today’s announcement fits in.
Because there can not really be any effective development – economic or political – while there are still millions of people dying unnecessarily.

Now, at a time when we are making spending cuts at home…
…what we are doing today, and the way we are protecting our aid budget, is controversial.
Some people say we simply can’t afford to be spending money on overseas aid right now.
That we should get our own house in order before worrying about other people’s problems.
Others see the point of helping other countries to develop, but don’t think aid works anyway, because corrupt dictators prevent it from reaching the people who really need it.
I want to address these arguments very directly this morning.
Let’s start with those who think we should not be tackling povery in other countries right now.
Many of these people are genuinely concerned about the problems in other countries, but just think we can’t afford to help.
So they believe we have to focus on ourselves right now.
And if that means breaking promises on aid spending…
…then they’re sorry – but it just has to be done.
Well I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.
I think that argument is wrong.
I think there is a strong moral case for keeping our promises to the world’s poorest and helping them even when we face challenges at home.
When you make a promise to the poorest people in the world – you should keep it.
I remember where I was during the Gleneagles Summit and the Live 8 concert of 2005.
I remember thinking at the time how right it was that all those World Leaders should make such pledges so publically.
For me it’s a question of values.
This is about saving lives.
It was the right thing to promise.
It was the right thing for Britain to do.
And it is the right thing for this government to honour that commitment.
So to those who point to other countries breaking their promises….
…and say that makes it ok for us to do the same…
…I say no.
It’s not ok.
Our job is to hold those other countries to account…
…not use them as an excuse to turn our back on people who are trusting us to help them.
And to those who say fine but we should put off seeing through those promises to another day because right now we can’t afford to help…
…I say we can’t afford to wait.
Three children die every minute from Pneumonia alone.
How many minutes do we wait?
I don’t think 0.7 per cent of our Gross National Income is too high a price to pay for saving lives.

But there’s not just a strong moral argument for keeping our aid commitment, there’s a strong practical one too.
If we really care about Britain’s national interest…
…about jobs, growth and security….
…we shouldn’t break off our links with the countries that can hold some of the keys to that future.
If we invest in Africa, open trade corridors and remove obstacles to economic growth…
…it’s not just Africa that will grow…
…but us too.
And if we invest in countries before they get broken…
…we might not end up spending so much on dealing with the problems…
…whether that’s immigration…
…or new threats to our national security.
Take Afghanistan.
If we’d put a fraction of our current military spending on Afghanistan into helping Afghanistan develop 15 or 20 years ago …
…just think what we might have been able to avoid over the last decade.
Or take Pakistan.
Let another generation of Pakistanis enter adult life without real opportunities…
…and what are the risks in terms of mass migration, radicalisation and even terrorism?
That’s why UK support over the next four years will get four million more children in Pakistan into school.
This could be life-changing for many young Pakistanis…
…and can be part of the antidote to the extremism that threatens us all.
So – it’s not just morally right to invest in aid.
It’s actually also in our own interests too.
And let me say one more thing to this group of critics.

I actually think that most people in our country want Britain to stand for something in the world.
To be something in the world.
When I think about what makes me proud of our country…
…yes, I think of our incredibly brave service men and women…
…and yes, I think of our capabilities as an economic and diplomatic power…
…but I also think of our sense of duty to help others.
That says something about this country.
And it’s something we should be proud of.

Now a second group of critics make a different argument.
They see the point of aid, but think that as it stands, it’s a waste of time because corrupt governments use it to prop up their regimes, sometimes making the poor even poorer.
I totally get this argument.
It’s right to be angry when aid is badly spent.
Let me tell you: I'm not prepared to see a single penny of hard-earned money wasted on corrupt governments, or badly spent aid.
But the answer isn’t to walk away from aid.
It’s to change the way we do development – so that we get real results and real value for money.
That’s why we will increase our use of direct channels to give money directly to the world's poorest.
It’s why we will focus aid on measurable results – things that people can clearly see make a difference.
By 2015 UK aid will secure schooling for more people than we educate in the UK and at one-fortieth of the cost.
And we will vaccinate more children against preventable diseases than there are people in the whole of England.
Measureable, cost-effective, live-saving aid.
And it’s why we’ve put such a focus on improving the transparency and accountability of our aid programme.
Incredible as it may seem, just 12 months ago government did not publish details of how all our development money was being spent.
We have changed that.
Today, people around the world can go online and see every item of DFID spending over £500, and see evaluations of the impact of that spending.
Over the next 12 months we will go even further.
From the beginning of the next financial year, any NGO that receives funding from the UK must publish what they do, where they get their money and where it goes.
This will enable people in the developed and developing world to hold them to account for the way they spend their money.
Over time, we will apply this principle to recipient governments too.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
And we’re shining the spotlight on aid funding like never before.

I know in this debate, figures can become meaningless.
But I want to leave you with some.
If – as I hope and expect– we reach or exceed GAVI’s target of US $3.7 billion over the next five years…
…we will protect at least a quarter of a billion children against killer diseases and save 4 million lives.
Think about that.
A quarter of a billion children protected from disease.
Four million lives saved.
In this world, where countries are tackling deficits…
…and more than ever before the emphasis is quite rightly on getting value for money….
…what greater value for money can there be.