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Okonjo-Iweala: Access to COVID vaccine biggest economic stimulus for developing countries

Okonjo-Iweala: Access to COVID vaccine biggest economic stimulus for developing countries
April 09
18:30 2021

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says the biggest economic stimulus for developing countries is access to COVID vaccine.

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She spoke during the last session of the 2021 International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings, on Friday.

Globally, over 690 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.

But according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa has received less than two percent of total administered doses.

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Okonjo-Iweala said the lack of adequate vaccine has both economic and health impacts for developing countries.

She said the countries have suffered negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic in different ways, adding that quick access to vaccines will help boost economic recovery.

“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.

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“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. Import and export have seen plummet in prices, travel and tourism for those countries that depend on this has collapsed in many countries and even those well integrated into global value chain they have suffered from some of the measures on factories, borders, and so on. So there has been a lot of impact on developing countries.”

Okonjo-Iweala said poverty has been declining in the past 36 years but the success has declined since countries recorded cases 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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