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Airline Tax Deployed by South Korea in AIDS, TB, Malaria Battle

by Kathy Jones on November 22, 2013 at 9:35 PM
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 Airline Tax Deployed by South Korea in AIDS, TB, Malaria Battle

South Korea has handed a major boost to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by deciding to levy a tax on airline tickets.

The Geneva-based body, which is backed by governments and private donors such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, said South Korea was to double its contribution over the next three years.

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The ministry of health is to contribute $6 million to the Global Fund for 2014-2016, and the foreign ministry is to pay $10 million in five annual instalments from 2013-2017, drawn from a levy on all passengers leaving South Korea on international flights.

South Korea's 1,000 won ($0.95) levy, known as the "Global Poverty Eradication Tax", was introduced in 2007, primarily to contribute financial resources to fight poverty and disease in impoverished countries.
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"The Republic of Korea is a trend-setter in the use of innovative funding methods to help fight the three diseases," said Mark Dybul, head of the Global Fund, in a statement.

"In doubling its contribution, Korea is also leading the way for other G20 countries to follow," he added.

South Korea has contributed $19 million since it started supporting the Global Fund in 2004, of which $6 million was pledged for 2011-2013.

The idea of imposing such a levy first came from French organisation Unitaid, which said it has collected $1.06 billion at the end of 2011.

The Global Fund focuses on developing nations, including South Korea's hermetic neighbour North Korea.

Global Fund grants to North Korea totalling $67 million have since 2010 funded the diagnosis and treatment of 120,000 cases of tuberculosis and the distribution of 710,000 mosquito nets to ward off malaria.

Source: AFP
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