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Update: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, shunned by Nigerian govt, gets fourth global appointment

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, as a special envoy for the newly inaugurated Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator.

She is to serve alongside Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, in the same capacity.

The duo are expected to mobilise international commitment to the initiative.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general of the organisation, announced the appointments during the launch of the ACT Accelerator — via webinar from Geneva.

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.

NAN reports that 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.

The council advises the president and government on the development and implementation of economic policies toward advancing inclusive growth.

A month later on April 10, Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), named Okonjo-Iweala a member of the fund’s external advisory group.

The group comprises individuals from around the world who will serve as Georgieva’s special advisers.

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

The AU special envoys are charged with soliciting the support of the G20, the European Union and other international financial institutions for the organisation’s response.

Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and development expert, who has served as managing director of the World Bank.

But while Okonjo-Iweala is much sought after and honoured abroad, she is shunned in her country of birth, Nigeria, where she has been under never-ending investigation over one allegation or the other.

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