International movie superstar Amitabh Bachchan joined an exclusive club yesterday after meeting with the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP. He joins an exclusive group of individuals - including the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury and Bob Geldof - who have purchased bonds from the International Finance Facility for Immunization.
The bonds were launched on Monday by the Chancellor, establishing a finance facility; an international development funding project supported by the governments of Great Britain, France, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Brazil and by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The key target of the project is to immunize 500 million children in the world's poorest countries
The bonds project hopes to raise $4 billion over the next 10 years to fund a massive vaccination campaign; the eight sponsoring countries have pledged enough money over the next 20 years to redeem the bonds with interest.
Mr Brown and Mr Bachchan had a 20 minutes meeting at the Treasury in Whitehall. Mr Brown said he was delighted to receive Mr Bachchan's support.
Mr Bachchan, himself a UNICEF Ambassador, pledged his continued support in worldwide efforts to eradicate disease in young children.
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, chair of the Ethnic Minority Taskforce, attended the meeting, and said "It was an excellent meeting. They had a remarkable chemistry between them"
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