The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that cumulative global production losses caused by the pandemic could amount to nearly $13.8 billion by 2024.
It cannot be denied that developing countries are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only exacerbated the food and livelihood security challenges of most developing WTO Members, but has resulted in the deaths of millions of people in low- and middle-income countries, primarily because they are relegated to the back of the queue for access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to fight the pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the death of almost 15 million people worldwide, representing a mortality 13% higher than the normal two-year mortality rate.
Considering the whole situation, the Nigerian government stated that as with the production of essential agricultural commodities needed to meet the food security and livelihood challenges of most developing WTO Members, only a few are producing diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to fight Covid-19.
This situation has led to a growing gap between supply and demand, due to the inability of producers to meet demand, making access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to fight Covid-19 unequal, with developed nations naturally prioritizing their citizens over others.
In Nigeria‘s view, a meaningful outcome regarding the WTO response to the pandemic should contain elements that would serve to address the food and livelihood challenges of developing Members, while preserving and providing scope for action that would foster recovery and the creation of resilient health and economic sectors.
It should also, from Nigeria’s perspective, contain elements that support international efforts to accelerate and diversify global vaccine production and promote equitable access to vaccines.
Such outcomes should effectively address intellectual property issues and boost access to technology and know-how, in addition to providing effective technical assistance and capacity building activities.
It is also imperative that the deliverables do not wipe out existing flexibilities.
In June 2022, at the 12th WTO Ministerial Summit, ministers agreed to a declaration on WTO pandemic response and preparedness for future pandemics that affirms their commitment to transparency, timely and comprehensive information sharing, and restraint in the imposition of export restrictions.
In response to the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and to address requests from developing countries, ministers agreed to a waiver of certain procedural obligations under the Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that allow for the rapid manufacture and export of Covid-19 vaccines without the consent of the patent owner.
At the same time, the agreement maintains a functioning intellectual property framework with incentives for investment, research and technology transfer.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, global extreme poverty increased for the first time in more than 20 years.
According to estimates made by the World Bank at the end of last year, around 100 million people now live on less than $1.90 a day.