Former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been appointed special envoy of the African Union (AU) to mobilise international support for Africa’s efforts to address the economic challenges African countries will face as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
AU chairperson and President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, ratified her appointment.
Also appointed as special envoys alongside Mrs Okonjo-Iweala are Donald Kaberuka, Tidjane Thiam and Trevor Manuel.
The special envoys will be tasked with soliciting rapid and concrete support as pledged by the G20, the European Union and other international financial institutions.
“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,” Ramaphosa said.
“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.”
Ramaphosa added that the envoys were bringing with them a wealth of experience and enjoy longstanding relationships in the international financial community.
Okonjo-Iweala’s new appointment comes a few days after the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, named her a member of the organisation’s External Advisory Group.