The Board of Directors from the AfDB ( African Development Bank) have given the go ahead for the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation which is going to significantly enhance Africa’s capacity to strengthen the manufacturing of products in the sector.

African Development Bank Group President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said: “This is 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.”

At the African Union summit in February, Adesina said “Africa can no longer outsource the healthcare security of its 1.3 billion citizens to the benevolence of others.”

The African continent imports 70% of all its medicines, at a cost of $14 billion annually. The decision is said to be one that will give a major boost for Africa’s health prospects.

Previously, global efforts to manufacture pharmaceuticals in developing countries has been hindered by several different blocks, such as intellectual property rights protections and patents on the technologies’, manufacturing processes and trade secrets.
In Africa, there is nothing in place to support the use of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) on non-exclusive or exclusive licensing of proprietary technologies, know-how and processes. The new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will do just this and bridge the gap, according to the AfDB. Once fully implemented, there will be staff of world-class experts on the area, looking purely for the best interests for the African pharmaceutical sector.

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 favour of Africa.”
Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said: “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.”

Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said: “Establishing the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation by the African Development Bank is a game changer on accelerating the access of African pharmaceutical companies to IP-protected technologies and know-how in Africa.”

The Foundation will be focussing on diseases that are the most common in Africa, not to mention current and future pandemics to meet World Health Organisation standards. Even though African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is being founded under the African Development Bank, other contingencies will be contributing towards it, governing bodies, philanthropic organisations, and development finance institutions. The AFDB has made a commitment to spend $3 Billion over the next 10 years to support the pharmaceuticals and vaccine manufacturing sector through their “Vision 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan”. The foundations will be based in Rwanda.

The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will work with the African Union Commission, European Union Commission, the World Health Organisation, the Medicines Patent Pool, the World Trade Organisation, other agencies, and institutions, and it will sometimes collaborate with public and private sectors across different countries.

Source: Environews Nigeria, June 2022

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