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AfDB to establish institution to strengthen Africa’s pharmaceutical industry

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has stated that its board of directors has approved the establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.

This was contained in a statement released on Monday by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The bank stated the new institution would significantly enhance Africa’s access to the technologies that underpin the manufacture of medicines, vaccines, and other pharmaceutical products.

According to the bank, Africa imports more than 70 percent of all the medicines it needs, gulping $14 billion per year.

The AfDB said the foundation will operate independently and raise funds from various stakeholders including governments, development finance institutions, philanthropic organisations, among others.

Commenting on the development, Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president, described it as a great development for Africa.

“Africa must have a health defense system, which must include three major areas: revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure,” Adesina said.

“Even with the decision of the TRIPS Waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying — and will most likely continue to die — from lack of vaccines and effective protection.

“The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation provides a practical solution and will help to tilt the access to proprietary technologies, knowledge, know-how, and processes in favor of Africa”.

According to the bank, the World Trade Organisation WTO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), welcomed its decision to establish the foundation.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO director-general, was quoted as saying; “the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is innovative thinking and action by the African Development Bank.

“It provides part of the infrastructure needed to assure an emergent pharmaceutical industry in Africa.”

On his part, Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director- general, said the foundation’s establishment would be a game-changer in accelerating the access of African pharmaceutical companies to IP-protected technologies and know-how in Africa.

“Rwanda will host the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation. A common benefits entity, the Foundation will have its own governance and operational structures. It will promote and broker alliances between foreign and African pharmaceutical companies,” the statement adds.

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