Former Prime Minister of Portugal to Chair Global Vaccine Alliance


José Manuel Barroso, former Prime Minister of Portugal and President of the European Commission, will be the new Chair of the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) board, taking a central role in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.


Barroso, currently non-executive Chairman of London-based Goldman Sachs International, was picked due to his “considerable stature and experience, his track record as a leader, his immense experience chairing multi-stakeholder Boards and his commitment to international cooperation”, according to a statement by GAVI.


According to José Manuel Barroso, “the world needs Gavi now more than ever, both to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach every country, rich and poor, and press ahead with its core mission to protect hundreds of millions of people from preventable diseases.”


José Manuel Barroso will replace, beginning in January 2021, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, economist, international development expert and former Finance and Foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria and World Bank Managing Director, whose term as Board Chair ends in December 2020.


Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, highlighted Barroso´s “experience, commitment and hands-on approach to international cooperation”, that “will be immensely useful as Gavi’s embarks on its next strategic period to enhance vaccine equity and truly leave no one behind as well as taking on new challenges as a partner in the global response to COVID-19”.


The selection process began in October 2019 and was led by a Search Committee chaired by former Board Vice Chair Bill Roedy. This committee engaged with a field of 115 candidates in total across a wide spectrum of experiences and background, undertaking rigorous due diligence, referencing and interviews before making the final decision. The Gavi Board Chair is an unremunerated position.


Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise over 822 million children, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries.


Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency.


The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners


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