The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as a Special Envoy for the newly inaugurated Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. She was appointed alongside British business executive, Sir Andrew Witty to mobilise international commitment to the initiative.
The initiative is an international collaboration aimed at accelerating the development, production, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 drugs, tests kits, and vaccines around the world.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a development economist who spent 25 years working at the World Bank in various positions before leaving at different points to lead the Nigerian economy. She first served as the Finance Minister of Nigeria from 2003 to 2006 after which she returned to the World Bank in 2007, serving as a Managing Director until 2011, when she was again appointed to the role of Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy in the Nigerian government until 2015. She is credited with leading Nigeria’s successful programme to obtain debt relief and is credited with developing reforms that helped improve governmental transparency to stabilise and grow the Nigerian economy. In a recent op-ed for CNBC Africa makes the case that a global response to COVID-19 that doesn’t fully support developing countries is no response at all giving an indicator of what her potential underlying mission is.