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Vaccines access stimulus for developing countries –Okonjo-Iweala

The Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, has described access to COVID-19 vaccine as the biggest economic stimulus for developing countries. She stated this during the final session of the 2021 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Spring Meetings, on Friday. Although over 690 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, Africa has received less than two per cent of total administered doses, according to the the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Okonjo-Iweala said the lack of adequate vaccine has both economic and health impacts for developing countries, adding that the nations have suffered negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic in different ways. “Before we talk of economic impact, we have to look at the health impact because the biggest thing for economic recovery for developing countries is getting the vaccines they need in order to deal with the pandemic,” she said. “I often say the biggest economic stimulus for developing countries will be access to these vaccines, so that’s the first.

“Developing countries have been hit in so many ways. Travel and tourism for those countries that depend on this has collapsed and even those well integrated into global value chain have suffered from some of the measures on factories, borders, and so on. So there has been a lot of impact on developing countries.” The WTO D-G said the success recorded in reducing poverty in the past 36 years has been affect ted by the onset of the virus. “For the first time it is climbing back and the World Bank projects that 150 million people could fall back into poverty,” she said.

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