Tuesday, September 22, 2015


FORMER Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named as Chairperson of the 28-member Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) and Senior Advisor of the 167-year-old global investment firm, Lazard Investment Bank.
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, is a $12 billion multilateral partnership that disburses grants of upwards of $1.8 billion annually to developing countries for immunisation programmes.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was elected to the position after a competitive international search process.
GAVI brings together developing countries and do-nor governments, the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and develop- ing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
Recall that from 2000- 2015, GAVI disbursed $425 million in grants to Nigeria, an average of about $30 million per annum for vaccination and immunisation of children, including polio vaccines. The Nigerian ex-minister succeeds Dagfinn Høy-bråten, a former Norwegian Minister of Health and current Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Previous Chairs include Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and respected education activist and former First Lady of South Africa, Graca Machel.
In the second appointment as Senior Advisor, Lazard Investment Bank, her focus will be sovereign advisory.
“We are proud to welcome Dr. Okonjo-Iweala as a Senior Advisor to our world-leading sovereign advisory group,” said Matthieu Pigasse, Global Head of M&A and Sovereign Advisory of Lazard. “She will bring a unique international expertise and experi- ence that will benefit both our sovereign and corporate clients.”
At Lazard, Dr. Okonjo- Iweala will work alongside colleagues including former Prime Minister of Austra- lia, Paul Keating; former Special Adviser to President Bill Clinton, Vernon Jordan;
former Spanish Economy Minister and current Snr Managing Director at Lazard, Rodrigo de Rato; former Chair of NASDAQ, Frank Zarb; former Finance Minister of Chile, Andres Velasco and former British Minister of Parliament/Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell.
In her reaction to the two appointments, Dr. 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.”

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