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Okonjo-Iweala highlights role of WTO in production of ÇOVID-19 vaccine

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Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, Sunday highlighted the vital role the World Trade Organisation (WTO) could play in the production of COVID-19 vaccine.

Okonjo-Iweala is one of eight candidates vying for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General position.

The remaining candidates are from Mexico, Egypt, Moldova, South Korea, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia.

The ex-minister, who was in Geneva, Switzerland, for a reception organised in her honour by the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, urged the rest of the world to support her quest for the WTO’s top job.

She said: “When vaccines and therapeutic medicine are produced, the WTO should be able to facilitate accessibility and equitable distribution to all member nations.

“To this end, trade has to be a strong recovery out of the global recession. And that makes a multilateral trading system part of the solution.”

Okonjo-Iweala, who currently chairs the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), said the GAVI experience would enable her to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries in the production of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The ex-minister added: “There is need for WTO to collaborate with finance agencies to address these issues otherwise it remains an impediment to the multilateral trading system.

“If elected as director-general, you have an ally, who is interested in addressing these challenges.”

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