Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and top politicians joined award-winning African singer Patoranking and others on Tuesday in New York to participate in a special event to discuss COVID-19 vaccine equity.
The event was organised by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to discuss how COVID-19 vaccines can be fairly distributed worldwide as a key development priority.
Under the banner of ‘A Shot for All’ staged on the margins of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, prominent leaders and personalities stressed the importance of vaccine equity and how to achieve universal access, particularly in developing countries and marginalised communities in Africa.
“Delaying vaccines in low-income countries and regions like Africa cannot be the way forward. The stakes are simply too high. Ending vaccine inequality must be seen as a global public good and development priority for all,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator.
The event, moderated by Al Jazeera English anchor Folly Bah Thibault, represented a call to action to governments and development partners to reconsider the production, supply, distribution, and financing of vaccines and redress the impact of the current crisis.
Speakers joined the global call to expedite and prioritise vaccine equity.
Among the speakers were the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven, and the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong.
Speaking at the event, UNDP Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa, said, “A two-track recovery is no recovery; the world is calling for greater justice.”
Award-winning Nigerian singer Patoranking and Kenyan percussionist and activist Kasiva Mutua performed at the event, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on artistes and their ability to inspire action.
Other participants included Edem Adzogenu from Afro Champions, Yvonne Mburu, CEO Nexakili and member of France’s Presidential Council for Africa, Admassu Tadesse, Director of Trade Development Bank, and Kwabena Ayirebi, Director of Banking Operations at the Africa Export-Import Bank.