The Punch

Vaccinatio­n, key to economic recovery, says Okonjo-iweala

- Adepeju Adenuga

The Director-general of the World Trade Organisati­on, Dr Ngozi Okonjoiwea­la, has urged nations across the globe set aside $50bn to vaccinate 40 per cent of the world population, a developmen­t she said was key to economic recovery.

Okonjo-iweala spoke at a panel interview with the Atlantic Council on Tuesday. She said the supply chain scarcity of vaccinatio­n could be solved.

The WTO boss said, “Based on a study by the Internatio­nal Monetary Fund, I want to put a proposal for the global economy, $50bn to vaccinate 40 per cent of the world population and 60 per cent next year.

“If this is done, the IMF estimates that we would enter into a sustainabl­e recovery path and solve the equity problem.

“This could create another $9tn in GDP by the world by 2025. I am putting that so that people can imagine the economic benefit of making vaccines available to the world.

“We usually manufactur­e five billion doses of vaccines worldwide; now we need to manufactur­e 15 billion doses if we have to do booster shots.

“The World Trade Organisati­on would monitor export restrictio­ns and prohibitio­ns. With the complicate­d supply chain by the vaccines companies, any restrictio­n that stops inputs and outputs is a roadblock to the production of vaccines.”

She said the WTO was encouragin­g member states to increase investment­s in capacity and scale up the production of vaccines.

Okonjo-iweala added that the WTO was asking organisati­ons to reach an agreement with on Intellectu­al Property issues.

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