Last week in Maputo, at a meeting hosted by the Government of Mozambique, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) had its 6th Investors Group meeting where partners met to discuss progress and align their vision for the future of the partnership at the start of the first replenishment of the GFF trust fund.
What I saw in Maputo was a validation of my belief that the GFF is the right vehicle for financing the Sustainable Development Goals. As the Minister of Health of the DRC put it – it is “the GPS” for the Governments, helping them navigate through the extremely complex global health ecosystem. But what really excited me during this Investors Group meeting was to realize that the GFF is not only a smart and sustainable new mechanism which is creating clear roadmaps for the countries, but it is also a modern, forward-looking vehicle for investing in Human Capital.
Why is the GFF the right vehicle for Investing in human capital?
In the current tight fiscal environment, it is difficult for many countries, and especially the 67 GFF-eligible ones to keep up expenditures for health. As result, there is a downward spiral of reliance on external aid and a growing funding gap for Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) services. The GFF process is designed to disrupt this cycle by bringing efficiency and long-term sustainability to the sector.
What are the key features of the GFF process?
By providing small catalytic funding to support the GFF process in a client country, the GFF trust fund supports the government to lead a wide consultation process and build consensus around key priorities, translating these priorities into clear targets for results and better alignment of resources, both domestic and external. Another key feature of the GFF is that it uses evidence-based and integrated approaches to achieve results, on a delivery platform that works across sectors and can support other priorities and initiatives like nutrition and early childhood development which further enhances the value of the GFF for the human capital agenda.
What is the GFF’s major role in shaping the human capital agenda?
Here are some examples from the GFF process in Mozambique:
- During the consultation process, the technical inputs from UN agencies, USAID and other partners strengthened the quality of the government-owned Investment Case and ensured buy-in from the donors and other financiers, as well as the CSOs and the private sector. This would lead to improved efficiency by aligning the resources behind common priorities and by bringing transparency of expenditures which is critical for the delivery of better health outcomes. In addition, by refining its health financing strategy the government would increase domestic financing as a share of total health spending over time for long-term sustainability.
- Through the GFF process, the Government of Mozambique identified as one of its key priorities the investment in reproductive health and family planning which is essential for reducing the high fertility rate (5.3), especially among adolescent girls. This would realize a demographic dividend which could open a window of possibilities for better national health outcomes and accelerated economic growth.
- The implementation strategy employs evidence-based high impact interventions, for instance - districts with low population density will offer population-based services at community level, while those with high density will improve the readiness of the health centers and district hospitals. To reach the adolescent population, the health centers will extend youth-friendly services and the schools will provide sexual and reproductive health education and services.
- In addition, the GFF delivery platform will be used to enhance nutrition outcomes; improve the track of births, deaths and causes of deaths through strengthening the civil registration and vital statistics system; and train front-line health workers to deliver services in the communities.
This is why, in my opinion, the GFF process provides a viable and solid framework and tools for smart and sustainable investment in human capital, and the GFF trust fund provides the catalytic funding needed for this process to take place.
To read more about the GFF experience in Mozambique, please read this op-ed in Devex