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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

To Beat Covid-19, Governments Need to Open Up

We won't recover from the pandemic unless leaders can persuade citizens that they’re spending wisely.

In Ukraine, civil society groups monitor the price of masks. 

In Ukraine, civil society groups monitor the price of masks. 

Photographer: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

The world will not be rid of Covid-19 until we have a safe and effective vaccine available to everyone. We will not recover from the far-reaching economic impact of the pandemic without a new social compact between governments and citizens based on transparent, accountable and trustworthy governance.

Every day that the crisis continues, the value of more open government becomes clearer. Getting medical equipment, and eventually vaccines, to those that need them most poses a major governance challenge. Already, many countries are battling price gouging, collapsing supply chains and even corruption in the procurement of supplies, including personal protective equipment. Out of desperation, governments have contracted with suppliers who have no track record of delivering the equipment they need. Too often those suppliers have failed.