2022 U.S.-Africa Business Summit – High-Level Dialogue on Building Africa’s Capacity for Local Production of Medical Products
On Wednesday, July 21, 2022, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted a High-Level Dialogue on Building Africa’s Capacity for Local Production of Medical Products at the 14th U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Marrakech, Morocco. The panel focused on best practices and practical considerations for expanding vaccine and medicine production in Africa, was moderated by Azuka Okeke, CEO, Africa Resource Centre for Excellence in Supply Chain Management and featured both private sector and public sector speakers.
Panelists began by highlighting key learnings from COVID-19, noting the importance of collaboration, leadership and political will to successfully address challenges from health threats like COVID-19 and achieve the African Union’s vision to produce 60 percent of vaccines in Africa by 2040. Ayman Cheikh-Lahlou, Chief Executive Officer of Cooper Pharma outlined four areas to boost local manufacturing and meet demand including political leadership, strong regulatory frameworks, private sector innovation and stronger communication between the public and private sector. Amina Rafiki, General Manager and Region Head of North-West & Central Africa, Gilead Sciences shared best practices for manufacturing and distribution of medicines from Gilead’s experience with HIV, Hepatitis and COVID-19 including partnering with local companies to manufacture locally to meet on-the-ground demand, voluntary licensing for generic production and the critical role of education and capacity building. Nafisa Jiwana, Managing Director, Health Initiatives with the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) highlighted the importance of supporting the African Union’s vision to increase local production by investing in projects that promote sustainable ecosystems around manufacturing. Examples of this include DFC’s $3.3 million technical assistance grant to Foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) to support development of a vaccine production hub and their $118 million investment in Aspen Pharmacare to help expand capacity.
Kwabena Ayirebi, Director Banking Operations, Afreximbank discussed the banks swift COVID-19 response which included providing $2 billion in March 2020 to support countries’ acquisition of the vaccine. Mr. Ayirebi said that an all of Africa approach proved to be very effective in addressing COVID-19 and ensuring African countries received vaccines. Mr. Ayirebi emphasized the importance of institutionalizing what worked best for Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic as countries work to increase local manufacturing. Serge Ekue, President, West African Development Bank (BOAD) said that despite BOAD, Afrexibank and other development bank’s quick disbursement of funds, African countries were still unable to secure COVID-19 vaccines swiftly, this highlighted the need for prioritizing local production. Mr. Ekue noted that there a less than 400 manufacturing facilities in Africa and to achieve success in boosting local production, stakeholders need to leverage and capitalize on existing capacity.
The session concluded with panelists answering audience questions related to encouraging IP, local innovation and bio-clusters in Africa, improving internal approval processes within DFI’s to fast-track funding disbursements and levering local solutions to solve local problems.
This panel was part of CCA’s U.S.-Africa Health Security and Resilience Initiative (HSRI). HSRI works to convene key stakeholders to discuss strategic collaborations that support strengthening health systems for improved health security by leveraging the role of the private sector on the path to economic recovery on the continent.
Click here to view the session.