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WTO Working To Boost Vaccine Production In Africa – Okonjo-Iweala

Solomon Elusoji  
Updated July 26, 2021
A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.
A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.

 

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said talks are in motion to persuade vaccine companies to invest more in Africa.

She made the comment while speaking virtually at the annual National Diaspora Day celebration in Abuja on Sunday.

According to the WTO chief, manufacture of vaccines on the continent will reduce vaccination inequality, made more stark by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite rising cases in Africa, many countries have struggled to secure vaccines for their population.

According to the World Health Organisation, only about 1.5% of the population on the continent is fully vaccinated. In countries like the US, the number is well over 50 percent.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, who used to sit on the board of Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, said attempts have been made to bring the CEOS of “major manufacturing companies from Moderna to Pfizer to AstraZeneca, J&J” to the table.

Meanwhile, she also called for the implementation of Diaspora voting in future Nigerian elections.