okonjo iweala

WTO Considers Nigeria as Vaccine Production Hub

World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday said Africa is working with the European Union and other partners to help create regional vaccine manufacturing hubs in South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda,

“We have now seen that over-centralization of vaccine production capacity is incompatible with equitable access in a crisis situation,” Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday during a virtual meeting, Reuters reported.

“Regional production hubs, in tandem with open supply chains, offer a more promising path to preparedness.”

In January, the Nigerian government announced the release of N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production.

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the funds was released by the Ministry of Finance and would be used to explore “options for licensed production in collaboration with recognised institutions.”

According to Statista.com Nigeria is the fourth country in Africa that has the highest number of vaccinated citizens.

The country has vaccinated 225, 765 people so far. South Africa is sixth on the list.

Earlier on Monday, south African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will hosting a “technology transfer hub” for coronavirus vaccines to scale up production know-how in Africa’s worst-hit nation.

Ramaphosa said French President Emmanuel Macron and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus would join him at a media briefing to announce the initiative at 1500 GMT.

“The briefing will focus on the establishment of the first messenger RNA technology transfer hub for Covid-19 vaccines, located in South Africa,” the presidency said in a brief statement.

The WHO has previously set up such hubs, which provide know-how and training to local manufacturers, to boost global production of influenza vaccines.

During a visit to South Africa last month, Macron said he was pushing for faster transfer of technology to allow poorer countries to start manufacturing their own Covid-19 jabs.

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