Former minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been elected chair of the board of Gavi, a $12 billion multilateral public-private partnership on vaccines. Also, she has been appointed senior advisor, Lazard Investment Bank. She has accepted the both appointments.
The first is to serve as chair of the 28-member Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, GAVI, an international public-private partnership committed to saving the lives of children and protecting people’s health by improving access to immunisation in developing countries, including Nigeria.
Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the position after a competitive international search process.
GAVI is a $12 billion multilateral partnership which disburses grants of upwards of $1.8 billion annually to developing countries for immunisation programmes. GAVI brings together developing countries and donor governments, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
Between 2000 and 2015, GAVI has disbursed $425million in grants to Nigeria, an average of about $30million per annum for vaccination and immunisation of children, including polio vaccines.
Okonjo-Iweala succeeds Dagfinn Høybråten, a former Norwegian minister of health and current secretary general of the Nordic council of ministers as chair of GAVI.
In her reaction, Okonjo-Iweala who will be working out of Paris, Geneva and London said: “I am excited to be embarking on this fresh journey. The two appointments will enable me to continue doing what I know best – rendering public service and using my financial and economist skills. I thank the international community for the recognition and continued support. I am also grateful for the prayers and support of many Nigerians”.