Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has told OECS leaders and other officials that on the issue of access to COVID-19 vaccines, ‘vaccine policy is economic policy’, according to the Communiqué of the 7th Special Meeting of the OECS Authority.
The Communiqué quoted the WTO Director-General as telling the virtual session that it was important for the OECS to work quickly to make vaccine accessibility one of the cardinal points of the region’s recovery, because of the dependence on tourism.
She also commended efforts being made by OECS member states to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala acknowledged what she described as ‘the mammoth task’ ahead in reestablishing the fiscal footing of the sub-region.
The Communiqué said she confirmed that the WTO, IMF, World Bank, and the WHO had joined hands calling on governments to invest $50 billion in accelerating vaccine production and deployment.
The WTO official was addressing OECS Heads of Governments, Ministers and Officials of Trade; Agriculture; and Fisheries who met in a virtual session on Friday.
According to the Communique from the session, the Chairman of the OECS Authority, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, chaired the gathering.
Among other things, the meeting focussed on the upcoming WTO Negotiations and the current WTO engagements with the OECS.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala made history when on March 1 this year, she became the first African and woman to lead the WTO.
St Lucia Times