SOUTH AFRICA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC), Proparco, the German Development Finance Institution (DEG) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have announced a partnership to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa, pharmaceutical development so as to accelerate the continent’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the partnership, IFC, Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD Group), DEG and DFC, along with other partners, are exploring potential collaboration with vaccine producers on the continent, including Aspen, among others, to support the continued development of sustainable local vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa.
This is expected to enable the continent to both respond to COVID-19 and be ready to respond to future pandemics and supply chain disruptions. The move will be a life-saving solution upon implementation especially after the drawback Africa has suffered with covid-19 vaccines.
“Our common goal is that everyone who needs a COVID-19 vaccine gets one—and gets it fast. Through this partnership, we aim to generate replicable, lasting solutions to allow African countries to get life-saving drugs and vaccines to more people,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.
Grégory Clemente, CEO of Proparco, said the partnership will provide significant support to African vaccine producers to increase local vaccine production in state-of-the-art facilities.
“In many aspects, the Covid-19-pandemic has painfully highlighted the need for increased international cooperation. As DEG we are happy to be able to rely on the international partnership of development banks and finance institutions,” said Monika Beck, Member of the DEG’s Management Board.
DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchick emphasized on the importance of having local vaccine production in Africa and the positive impact it will have on the global vaccine supply chain.
COVID-19 has highlighted the scarcity of local and regional pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing in Africa and the importance of investing in health systems more broadly to successfully fight the pandemic.
Currently, only one percent of vaccines needed in Africa are produced in Africa and according to the WHO, less than two percent of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered globally as of April 2021 were in Africa.
Egypt has announced to start production of a covid vaccine in June. The country has been in collaboration with China for months to produce a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine. It has received the first batch of the raw materials to make the shot, called Sinovac-Vacsera.
Successfully manufacturing the vaccine will make Egypt only the second country in Africa to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine. In April, South African company, Aspen Pharmacare, started manufacturing the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in its facility in the coastal city of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).
IFC’s investments will fall under its Global Health Platform launched in July 2020 to help developing countries fight the coronavirus pandemic and increase their healthcare systems’ resilience. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, IFC has committed $1.1 billion in COVID-19 related projects, of which $450 million fell under the Global Health Platform (GHP) that was created specifically to quickly target vaccines and related initiatives.