Former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala put forth a unique proposal, suggesting that the World Trade Organization is sure to fulfill its obligation of fair trade and allocation of vaccines and medical supplies if she takes office as its next director-general.
While the novel coronavirus pandemic is a global health crisis that demands immense attention at present, the Nigerian reformer vowed that she’d go the extra mile to combat WTO’s stagnation as far as tackling the pandemic is concerned. perspectives largely centered around how due efforts could be made to ensure that the vaccines are accessible to the poorer and developing countries, based on the same allocation criteria.
Okonja-Iweala also elucidated how the subsidies issue continues to be a divisive topic that plagues several nations during her interview with the South China Morning Post.
“I think that the subsidies issue is one of the most challenging and one of the most divisive, and I think they will need much more work. Whereas I see quickly some victories in things like Covid-19 that can make the WTO look good, and whereas I even see it in the dispute settlement system. Believe it or not, in subsidies, it’s fraught,” said the candidate and current chair of the board of vaccine alliance group Gavi.
She further added how prioritizing reform was always on her agenda. “I come with a résumé that shows I’ve done reform. I’ve actually written two books about it. And those reforms were bold — they were courageous if you allow me to say so. In one case, my mother was kidnapped, and I still went and kept going when we were doing reforms on corruption,” she said, referring to the abduction of her 82-year-old mother in 2012, who spent five days in captive before being released.
Okonjo-Iweala was treading with caution as she consciously steers clear of politics while declining to comment on Hong Kong specific issues. The former minister further suggested that she’d like the members of the body to work toward “extricating the WTO from being involved in those political issues and focus on the mandate” of the institution.