MOROCCO – Morocco has formally ratified the treaty establishing the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and signed the framework agreement on creation of the drug regulator under the African Union (AU).

The African Medicines Agency is a proposed specialized agency of the African Union intended to facilitate the harmonization of medical regulation throughout the African Union.

In February 2019, African leaders initiated the African Medicines Agency’s framework during the 32nd session of the African Union Assembly with an aim to harmonize regulatory requirements in African pharmaceutical markets.

The agency also seeks to encourage pharmaceutical knowledge sharing between African countries as well as expand access to effective, safe and quality medicines for patients to support the continent’s fight against health crises.

Despite the treaty establishing the African Medicines Agency, the agency currently exists only on paper as just over half of the 55 African Union member states have approved the treaty setting up the regulator.

Fifteen African countries signed the treaty for the establishment of the AMA as of March 2020 including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Senegal, and Ghana.

Some 22 countries including Morocco have now ratified the African Medicines Agency treaty beyond the 15 ratifications reached in November 2021 which allowed the AMA treaty instrument to formally take effect.

All in all, that makes for a total of 30 African countries that are formally on board with the treaty through signature, ratification or both while 25 nations still remain uncommitted.

The 25 countries that have not yet signed the treaty include most of Africa’s population and economic powerhouses such as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Morocco has joined the race to establish AMA after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the African region’s dependence on imported vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

Morocco’s Ambassador to the African Union Mohamed Arrouchi participated in the treaty’s ratification ceremony at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa along with the AU Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development Minata Samate.

Morocco remains fully committed to manufacturing high quality medicines since the health and safety of Africans depends on quality medicinal products and effective drugs,” assured Ambassador Mohamed Arrouchi.

Egypt bids to host Africa Medicines Agency

Meanwhile, African Union delegates have started reviewing the bid for Egypt to host African Medicine Agency headquarters.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reaffirmed the nation’s drug manufacturing capacities such as technological infrastructure and long-standing expertise.

He further outlined that Egypt has the largest pharmaceutical city in the Middle East as well as the oldest vaccine center in Africa and the Middle East Africa.

“Egypt is one of the few manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines and the Egyptian Drug Authority was recently accredited by the World Health Organization for home-made and foreign vaccines,” he added.

Egypt is among the eight countries seeking to host the continental regulatory agency including Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Uganda, Tunisia and Morocco.

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