Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, joined Pope Francis at the weekend to address 500 of the world’s top CEOs on the effects of globalisation.
This is coming on the heels of her being honoured with the Global Fairness Award. Okonjo-Iweala at the award ceremony said 2017 must be a year to wage a better fight for global fairness for the vulnerable.
“I appreciate the Trustees of the Global Fairness Award for recognising a lifetime devoted to development, including the privilege I have now of working for children’s immunization, through Gavi, and for managing climate risk in Africa through the African Risk Capacity.
“Let 2017 be a year of continued fight for fairness for the most vulnerable among us, and those left behind in this world,” she said.
At the Vatican City event, she joined the Pope to speak to the most influential CEOs in the world.
The Catholic Pontiff spoke to theme of the forum, ‘The 21st Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact’, said global leaders must move for more inclusive growth pattern.
“Our world today is marked by great unrest, inequality among people continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty or the migration and poverty which flows from them.
“I pray that you may involve in your efforts those whom you seek to help; give them a voice, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences and understand their needs.
“See in them a brother and sister, a son and a daughter, a mother and a father. Amid the challenges of our day, see the human face of those you earnestly seek to help.”
On her part, Okonjo-Iweala, spoke on the effects of globalisation on developing countries, including Nigeria.
She said globalisation had facilitated a “loss of textile jobs in Nigeria from 600,000 to 20,000 in two decades, and loss of 75,000 jobs in South Africa over a decade in textiles, footwear, and machinery”.
Okonjo-Iweala said China was making the same kind of textile made by United Textile in Nigeria, and selling it for much less, making it impossible for local manufacturers to compete.
She urged the Fortune 500 CEOs to create more jobs, do more philanthropy, and work with constituted authorities to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion.