The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that access to vaccines, digital infrastructure and women and youth inclusion will boost Africa’s preparedness for the future. She disclosed this on Monday at the “It’s Your Turn! Africa’s Recovery Talk Series” hosted by Mrs Vera Songwe, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
“We have to talk of one important thing that will bring Africa back on that sustainable path and that is the vaccine inequity. The second is youths and digital. Our youths are our resource and more than 40 per cent of them are on the internet doing amazing things, starting amazing businesses. I am very hopeful that if we can encourage our youths and improve our digital infrastructure, digitise our trade even, that can help,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
She added that other factors include women and micro, medium and small enterprises inclusion. “If we can empower our women and get liquidity to our micro, medium and small enterprises and both work in tandem, because about 50 per cent of many of these enterprises are owned by women, I think that will help us propel a recovery,” she added.
She praised the efforts African governments have made so far in combating the covid pandemic stating that it shows we can act as one. “A continental approach is the first thing,” she said. U.S Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield added that vaccine equity is what the U.S. sees as an essential step in achieving goals of a prosperous Africa as multilateral vaccine response is needed to combat the pandemic.
She added that all AU member states will receive approximately 25 million COVID-19 vaccines to enhance coverage across the continent, contributing to the AU target of vaccinating at least, 60 per cent of the African population.