Okonjo-Iweala appointed WHO coronavirus special envoy

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named a special envoy by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the newly inaugurated Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is to serve alongside British business executive, Sir Andrew Witty, in the same capacity, to mobilise international commitment to the initiative.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, made the announcement on Friday during the launch of the ACT Accelerator — via webinar from Geneva, Switzerland.

“I would especially like to thank Sir Andrew Witty and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for agreeing to act as Special Envoys for the ACT Accelerator,” Ghebreyesus said in his remarks.

The initiative is an international collaboration aimed at accelerating the development, production, and equitable distribution of COVID-18 drugs, tests kits, and vaccines around the world.

This is the fourth international assignment given to Okonjo-Iweala in less than two months.

On March 7, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa appointed her a member of the country’s Economic Advisory Council, which comprises indigenous and international economic experts.

A month later on April 10, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, named Okonjo-Iweala a member of the fund’s External Advisory Group.

Okonjo-Iweala is one of the four Special Envoys which the African Union (AU) appointed on April 12 to mobilise international support for its efforts toward addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

The former minister is an internationally respected economist and development expert, who has served as Managing Director of the World Bank, among other assignments.