AfDB unveils the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation
The African Development Bank Group has formally introduced its new initiative that will join hands with the African Union to boost Africa's capacity to produce drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics all along the value chain, to help build its pharmaceutical sector.
The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF) was the focus of a forum hosted by the African Development Bank under the theme: “Technology Access for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing: The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.” The event was part of the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, on 14 December.
According to the African Development Bank, the continent imports more than 70% of the medicines it needs at the cost of $14 billion annually. Changing the game to enable African countries develop their capacity to manufacture pharmaceutical products has public health, strategic and economic rationales.
“This new initiative comes as a solution, since most [African] countries still face challenges in receiving [medicines] on time," Dr. Yvan Butera, Rwandan Minister of State for Health, commented. The Foundation, hosted by the Government of Rwanda in Kigali, is expected to commence operations in early 2023.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Solomon Quaynor, Vice-President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation at the African Development Bank Group, said Covid-19 had exposed the gaps in Africa’s health care system.
Presenting the APTF at the event, Prof. Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Special Adviser on pharmaceuticals and health infrastructure to Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, stressed that the Foundation was designed to help African countries bridge the technology gaps in sustainable domestic manufacturing.
The co-chair of the International Negotiating Body of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, Dr. Precious Matsoso, reflected on how important technology issues are for future pandemic preparation. She said establishing the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation “would provide the much-needed support to address technology barriers for equitable access.”
The Foundation, approved by the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors in June 2022, is expected to boost Africa’s access to technology for manufacturing the full range of pharmaceutical products, focusing on building supply chains and expanding access to building block technologies of various kinds.
The Foundation will also serve as a transparent intermediator advancing and brokering the interests of the African pharmaceutical sector on the global stage, to enhance access to proprietary technologies, know-how, and related industrial processes, through licensing and other market-based and non-market mechanisms.