By Franca Joseph, For Agenda Watchdog, April 14, 2020
(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Nigeria’s former two-time Minister for Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is among a host of African financial technocrats appointed by the Chairperson of the African Union, President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, as Special Envoys of the African Union to help mobilise international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges African countries will face due to the COVID-19 pandemich. Others are, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Mr Tidjane Thiam and Mr Trevor Manuel.
According to President Ramaphosa: “In the light of the devastating socio-economic and political impact of the pandemic on African countries these institutions need to support African economies that are facing serious economic challenges with a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa, including deferred debt and interest payments.
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been global in both scale and reach, and this necessitates coordinated international action to capacitate all countries to respond effectively, but most particularly developing countries that continue to shoulder a historical burden of poverty, inequality and underdevelopment,” President Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa added further that: “The sentiment expressed in two recent letters written to the G20 by a group of world leaders and a team of esteemed economists underscore the importance of bolstering health systems in poorer countries; this can only be done with the support of the international community.”
The AU’s Special Envoys would be mandated with the task of making the European Union,G20 and other international financial institutions redeem their pledges to help African countries recover from the effects of COVID-19 on their economies.
Apart from her two stints as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a globally revered economist and development guru who has also functioned as Managing Director of global apex financial institution, the World Bank.