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COVID-19: Osinbajo warns against vaccine nationalism

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By Chijioke Okoronkwo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the principle of fairness should be applied by leaders to meet challenges of health, economy and other issues.

Osinbajo spokesman Laolu Akande in a statement Wednesday in Abuja said the vice president spoke at a virtual forum hosted by a leading American Christian university, Liberty University.

The forum on the theme “Equity for Africa: Transforming the World through Judeo-Christian Values” was organized by the University’s School of Business.

Osinbajo said equity is needed to build a more just world that takes into account the interests of the poor, the marginalized and a world that does not impose unfair burdens on developing countries.

He warned that current trends in global vaccine distribution are heading towards vaccine nationalism.

“The principle of equity obliges us as believers to strive to build a more just world, a world that takes into account the interests of the poor and marginalized.

“It means a world that does not impose unfair burdens on developing countries when global cooperation is needed.

“For example, if you look at what’s going on with COVID-19 and access to vaccines, what we see are export bans and the use of vaccine nationalism.

“Christian leaders must lead the world to ensure that all countries and their people can access vaccines, regardless of the resources they have.

“The same considerations apply to help African countries cope with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.”

He reiterated his previous call to certain multilateral agencies planning to de-finance gas projects to review their position.

Osinbajo said it was worrying and should be dropped, adding that people of conscience and faith should stop the trend that could undermine a sense of collective responsibility for climate change mitigation.

“One issue that emerges as a major concern in terms of equity and justice is the process of just transitioning to a low carbon economy.

“Africa, including Nigeria, has abundant gas resources and gas is far cleaner than crude oil and its derivatives.

“Gas has an important contribution to make in our economies in terms of transport and even in terms of cooking to replace coal and kerosene.”

The vice-president also spoke of the prospects for further progress in Africa.

According to him, there is no dispute that for Africa to realize its potential, it must work with friends, especially those of faith, to identify strategic opportunities to bring growth and prosperity to Africa. the continent.

“Investing in Nigeria also provides an avenue to participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will create a market for goods and services for up to 1.3 billion people.

“It’s also a way to use the provisions of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act to produce goods that can then be exported to the United States on preferential terms.

“The opportunities are vast and it is no surprise that Nigerian business leaders who know the country well and appreciate its economic dynamics are making big investments in oil and gas, agriculture and food processing, in telecommunications, power generation, technology, and the hotel and creative industries. “

Citing the example of some investments, Osinbajo said that the Dangote group was building a 650,000 barrels per day refinery while the BUA group had also initiated an investment in a 200,000 barrels per day refinery.

He said that along the same lines, Azura, Transcorp and several other power companies have made large and significant investments.

“In digital technology, Paystack, a Nigerian fintech start-up, was recently acquired by Stripe, the American company for $ 200 million, while equally impactful investments have also been made by large technology companies. global.

“Microsoft has set up its African Development Center in Lagos, Facebook has located its Africa Hub in Lagos, where the Google Developer Space is also located.”

He praised the US government for its stance on IMF Special Drawing Rights.

According to him, the increase in special drawing rights at the IMF will give more liquidity to developing countries.

He expressed optimism that the IMF Executive Board would act quickly in this regard.

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are additional foreign reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They represent a claim on the currency held by IMF member countries against which they can be exchanged.

Forum attendees included Governors Samuel Ortom de Benue, and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, David Brat, Dean of Liberty University School of Business, business leaders across the United States, among others. .

(NAN)

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