SOUTH AFRICA – The first Biomanufacturing Workforce Development workshop is currently ongoing and co-hosted by Africa CDC, Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

Over 30 partner organisations will contribute to understanding the landscape of biomanufacturing training, gaps and opportunities for building a talented and skilled workforce on the continent to create greater vaccine supply resilience for Africa.

The Africa CDC has set the ambitious goal to manufacture 60% of the vaccine doses required on the continent by 2040. Africa currently only produces about 0.1% of the global supply of vaccines.

In achieving this vision of creating greater vaccine supply resilience for Africa, significant investments need to be made to develop a skilled workforce for deployment in the research, development and manufacturing industry.

“Building a workforce in Africa is a fundamental aspect of great importance. We simply cannot seek to manufacture biopharmaceuticals without developing a skilled workforce for the future,” Prof Richard Gordon, Director of International Business Development for the South African Medical Research Council.

“We are delighted to be part of this workshop and share our experiences with the Chan- Soon-Shiong Family Foundation SAMRC Scholarship programs and training collaborations with international partners. We are seeking to build long-lasting collaborative solutions to this challenge.”

Recent estimates by the Africa CDC reveal that between 6000 and 7000 skilled jobs will need to be created in Africa by 2030 for the range of needs of the vaccine manufacturing industry alone.

In this context, the Africa CDC, IPD and SAMRC are joining forces to fully understand the capacity building needs and ambitions in Africa, to get the full picture of training initiatives available locally, regionally and globally, and identify gaps and opportunities.

“As Africa CDC, we view this workshop, which brings stakeholders participating in developing talent for Biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa, as critical,” said Dr Ahmed Ouma Ogwell, Ag. Director of Africa CDC.

“The need to understand the roles of all the stakeholders is cardinal for optimal resource utilisation and effective coordination as outlined in the continental Framework for Action for vaccine manufacturing.”

This very practical workshop will result in concrete roadmaps to achieve objectives in the space of biomanufacturing workforce development, it will also address how to create a favourable ecosystem for scalable and sustainable financing of training programmes in Africa and the best model of partnerships and governance to achieve the continental ambition.

Launch of KWAME

This event also launches the IPD biomanufacturing human capital development initiative Knowledge & Workforce for Africa Manufacturing’s Equity (KWAME), which is intrinsically linked to the MADIBA project to manufacture and supply high-quality, affordable and relevant vaccines for Africa in Senegal.

“Today, more than 60% of Africa’s population is under 25 and young Africans are expected to constitute 42% of global youth by 2030. These young men and women are very valuable assets for the continent, and we have a great opportunity to develop this human capital today to build a successful new industry in Africa relying on its own talents tomorrow,” said Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, CEO of the Institut Pasteur de Dakar.

“One of the key objectives of KWAME is to ‘accelerate the development of a workforce that is formally trained in Africa through collaborations with African countries and manufacturers and with a long-term vision at the level of the higher education system to support manufacturing projects on the continent’.

“This will not be possible without robust partnerships, and I am therefore delighted that so many of our partners have committed to contributing to this 3-day workshop.”

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