By Ahmed Rahma
The long-term lending institution, the European Investment Bank (EIB), has launched a €50 million scheme that involves strengthening local production of active pharmaceutical ingredients in Africa.
The first-ever scheme, which will help in reducing dependency on drug imports and address medical supply chain weaknesses linked to COVID-19, is also expected to improve the availability of specialist drugs and tackle supply chain challenges that currently damage public health across Africa.
Commenting on the initiative, the World Health Organisation (WHO) assistant director-general, Dr Mariângela Simão, said, “COVID-19 has highlighted how public health in Africa is vulnerable to global supply chains and dependent on international production.
“Increasing local specialist manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients will help to improve the public health of millions of Africans.
“This new initiative demonstrates how specialist pharmaceutical and financing expertise can create jobs and a better future for Africa.”
Also speaking on the scheme, European Investment Bank Vice President, Thomas Östros, said, “This scheme has been designed with African and global experts and builds on the EIB’s unique global technical experience and financing expertise supporting health and innovation investment.”
The initiative is aligned with the global health body’s goals and the recently announced cooperation between the EIB and WHO to combat COVID-19 and strengthen health system resilience to better face future pandemics.
It is expected to enable Africa to benefit from a predicted doubling in local pharmaceutical sales over the next decade, improve access to healthcare and create specialist jobs on the continent.
In addition, the initiative is also expected to provide long-term financing for pharmaceutical production across sub-Saharan Africa and specifically target the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients that constitute 45% of final drug costs.
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