Italian PM, Okonjo-Iweala harp on global unity for vaccine production

Adeze Ojukwu

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Director General of World Trade Organization(WTO) Prof Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have reiterated the call for more global co-operation over the production of vaccines.

They stated this, yesterday during a meeting, which focused on global efforts to increase vaccine production.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and WTO DG, Prof Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the meeting, on Monday in Rome.

The current reforms at the WTO and the strengthening of the multilateral trade system, which is also in the framework of the Italian G20 Presidency, were also part of the agenda, during the parley.

The duo harped on the imperatives for greater international solidarity and support, in order to win the long battle against coronavirus, which has killed millions of worldwide and devastated businesses.

New infections and deaths, attributed to the deadly virus and mutants are escalating in Nigeria and some parts of the world.

Okonjo-Iweala commended the Italian PM for the invitation,  in her official twitter handle today.

‘Thanks to HE Prime Minister Mario Draghi for his invitation to discuss trade and health issues and @WTO reform. Grateful for the support of the Italian G20 Presidency,’ she tweeted.

During her visit to Rome, the WTO boss, met other government authorities including the Minister of Finance Daniel Franco and his Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation counterpart, Luigi Di Maio.

While addressing the press, Okonjo-Iweala said ‘Italian authorities, who hold the presidency of the G20 this year, are “of great help” in the WTO efforts to strengthen vaccinations on a global scale.’

‘A pragmatic solution is being worked out and there is, generally speaking, a more constructive tone, more willingness to sit at the negotiating table especially after the meeting three weeks ago with the vaccine manufacturers.’

Meanwhile the review of the proposal to liberalize the patents on Covid-19 vaccines is expected in late May.’

‘The expectation is that on that date we can have all parties sitting at the table,’ Okonjo-Iweala noted.

She had earlier appealed to member states to respond urgently to the need for a multilateral solution to ensure equitable access to vaccines worldwide. ‘It is the moral and economic issue of our time.’

She stressed this, during a recent meeting of WTO General Council, over intellectual property rights and access to essential COVID-19 medicines and medical equipment.

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