EJS Center Board Member Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala recently gave an interview to Zeinab Badawi on an episode of the BBC News series HARDtalk. Drawing on her experience as Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Special Envoy on COVID-19 for the African Union, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala shared her insights on the spread of COVID-19 in Africa.
She highlighted the challenging task at hand, as African governments work to bolster vulnerable health systems and protect lives and livelihoods at risk from the virus. She also highlighted the continental response, led by the African Union:
“The African Union has come together, resources have been put together, $63 million out of the $315 needed to support Africa, which again is doing a very good job. The countries have all tried to put in fiscal measures to cope with the situation. But whereas developed countries are implementing 8-10% of GDP fiscal stimulus, we are only able to do 0.81%. So, it means we need resources in a solidary fashion from outside also to help us meet these costs.”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also encouraged a coordinated international approach to the response effort, particularly with regard to a potential COVID-19 vaccine:
“As we speak, there is an international effort called the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is an international effort between WHO and several governments to make available an accelerated effort to find vaccines, therapeutics or diagnostics to help countries deal with this pandemic. That effort is going quite well.”
You can find the full interview here.