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COVID-19: WTO key in vaccine accessibility, global recovery – Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says the World Trade Organisation (WTO) can play a vital role in accessibility coronavirus vaccine.

The former World Bank Managing Director spoke at a reception held in her honour by the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN).

The mission used the occasion to appeal for global support for her candidacy as the WTO Director-General position enters the election phase.

“When vaccines and therapeutic medicine are produced, the WTO should be able to facilitate accessibility and equitable distribution to all member nations. Trade has to be a strong recovery out of the global recession; that makes a multilateral trading system part of the solution,” she said.

The chair of Board of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) said her experience with the body was an advantage that would be useful as countries seek to produce vaccines.

“There is need for WTO to collaborate with finance agencies to address these issues otherwise it remains an impediment to multilateral trading system. If elected as director-general, you have an ally, who is interested in addressing these challenges”, Okonjo-Iweala added.

Adebayo Adeniyi, Minister of Trade and Investment, represented by Abdulhamid Adamu, Charge d’ Affairs, Nigerian Trade Office in Geneva, described the ex-minster as a global icon with proven leadership skills.

He eulogized the candidate’s skills in spearheading negotiations and reforms, enhancing transparency of government accounts, and strengthening institutions against corruption.

Baba Madugu, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Leopold Samba of the Central African Republic, among others urged countries to support Okonjo-Iweala.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said a vote for the finance expert “is a step in the right direction.”

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