AFRICA – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has appointed Professor Padmashree Gehl Sampath as a special advisor on pharmaceuticals and health infrastructure to the Bank’s president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

She will also be leading the technical work related to the setting up of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, a new pan-African institution launched by the Bank, at the request of Regional Member Countries.

At the African Development Bank, she will provide strategic guidance on pharmaceuticals and health, which have become important focus areas for the Bank in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Announcing the appointment, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Adesina said Professor Gehl Sampath’s appointment was a logical step considering the Bank Group’s bold efforts in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am delighted to appoint Professor Gehl Sampath as Special Advisor on Pharmaceuticals and Health Infrastructure,” Dr. Adesina said.

“She will provide strategic guidance on these new areas where we will be investing. She is a globally acclaimed leader who brings global expertise and experience on pharmaceutical and health policy that will greatly enhance the work and delivery of the African Development Bank Group on its planned investments for pharmaceuticals and vaccines, as well as quality healthcare infrastructure for Africa.”

To tackle challenges arising from the pandemic, the Boards of the African Development Bank Group approved a Quality Health Infrastructure Strategy and an action plan to develop pharmaceutical capacity in Africa for pharmaceutical products and vaccines.

“Building Africa’s pharmaceutical sector to serve the continent is an idea whose time has come,” Prof Gehl Sampath said.

“I am deeply inspired by the trust placed in me by Dr Adesina and I look forward to working closely with the president and the entire senior management team at the African Development Bank to make this a reality.”

A well-respected thought leader in the field of development studies and global health, Professor Gehl Sampath is working on some of the world’s most pressing challenges, predominantly from technology, trade, and industrialization perspectives.

She is one of the original thinkers on new paradigms for international technology transactions that can better secure global public goods, with a focus on pharmaceuticals and health.

Professor Gehl Sampath has also been working with the African Development Bank Group on the conceptualization of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation since 2021.

The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will address intellectual property rights issues, patents, and copyrights that constrain the access of Africa to technologies, know-how, processes for boosting industrial manufacturing of pharmaceutical products and vaccines.

At the request of Regional Member Countries, the African Development Bank Group plans to invest US$3 billion in the development of pharmaceutical products as part of its efforts to industrialize Africa and lessen the continent’s reliance on imports.

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