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Okonjo-Iweala leads list of 100 world’s most influential people

…as Prince Harry & Meghan laud role in vaccine access

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have lauded Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization for her role in fostering equitable vaccine access.

She is recognised as a leading voice in the push for all countries to be equipped with vaccines against the pandemic amid a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation.

“This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms,” the royals said in a bio published on TIME on Wednesday.

“The fragility of our world right now cannot be overstated. Just over a quarter of the nearly 8 billion global population is fully vaccinated. Achieving vaccine equity is a global duty of compassion for one another. Our hope is that guided by strong leaders like Ngozi, we can get there soon,” they added.

Upon assumption of office earlier in February, the top priority for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s was to break the trend of vaccine nationalism, after fixing fair global trade.

Read also: COVID-19 vaccine: Moral suasion more effective than sanctions – HR experts

Her plans were to introduce rules that would facilitate equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, as poorer countries lag woefully behind in a vaccination race that has millions of vaccine doses at the behest of wealthy countries.

This was at a time when the 53.8 million doses have been administered in the US, at an average of 1.68 million doses per day. China had administered 40.5 million, the European Union over 21.5 million, the UK 15.5 million, India 8.2 million, and Morocco 1.3 million.

“That’s a big issue for me, how do we get the solutions to the present pandemic?” she said in a televised interview.

Okonjo-Iweala explained then that ramping up global efforts to combat Covid-19 was a priority she’s passionate about and ready to lead the WTO to play a stronger role in bringing solutions to the pandemic.

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