AUDA-NEPAD Releases Webinar Report on Pharmaceutical and Medical Supplies in Africa
The AUDA-NEPAD COVID-19 response webinars are designed to facilitate conversations on galvanising African manufacturers to supply pharmaceutical and medical products required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The webinar presentations focused on how local manufactures of pharmaceutical and medical supplies in Africa can access affordable financing for scaling their production to combat the pandemic.
The opening address by Mr Amine Idriss Adoum, the director of program delivery and coordination at AUDA -NEPAD reiterated the purpose of theses series of webinars as providing a platform to facilitate dialogue amongst African governments, regional economic communities and private sector players on the continent to combat COVID-19.
Mr Amine Adoum stressed that access to financing is critical to developing industrial capacity for manufacturing of Medicines. Despite the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has peculiar needs that the conventional products developed and marketed by primary finance institutions on the continent may not necessarily address; nevertheless, there is a urgent need to bridge dialogue between the industry and the finance institutions to ensure that products and services are packaged in a way that will be mutually beneficial and serve the continent.
The keynote speaker Dr. Omilola Babatunde the Manager of the Public Health, Security and Nutrition Division at the African Development Bank stated that the apex African development bank has developed several financing mechanisms that will accelerate local production of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies in Africa.
He stated that the COVID-19 pandemic is already having catastrophic impact on African countries in the areas of health, humanitarian and general economy. The continent is estimated to lose about 5-10% of its GDP as commodity prices and revenues from tourism, trade and remittances continues to shrink. Due to this, the African Development Bank has unveiled a $10billion response facility to support African countries to combat COVID-19. He then explained the different criteria that needs to be met to access the loan.
He reiterated that financing local manufacturers in Africa remains a priority to the bank. Hence the Bank is rolling out financing instruments aimed at boosting local production of medical supplies in response to the outbreak on the continent.
Mr. Babajide the Senior Manager, Export Development Advisory at the African Export Import Bank (Afrexim) stated that despite the COVID-19 Pandemic creating unprecedented challenges to African economies and health systems, the pandemic provides Africa with the opportunities to address critical gaps in the continent’s productive capacity in the short term and medium term, particularly with regards to healthcare and pharmaceuticals related production.
He stressed the need to mobilize financial resources in Africa to scale productivity in the healthcare sector and address its myriad challenges. He concluded by reaffirming Afreximbank’s commitment to play its role, in line with its mandate, in this regard.
Speaking on behalf of the Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations, the CEO of Kiara Health Dr. Skhumbuzo Ngozwana said that Africa needs local solutions where we can, when we can, and whilst we can; otherwise COVID-19 will overwhelm Africa’s health systems.
To avoid this, African financial institutions must be willing to support local manufacturers of essential products. He beseeched the banks on the continent to create financing instruments that are intentional and appropriate for the local market.
The director of regional integration, infrastructure and trade at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Stephen Karingi stated that the varied stakeholders groups ranging from the DFIs, national banks, private sector and multilateral bodies must collaborate and create innovative financing mechanisms, enhanced supply chain processes and improved procurement strategies to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
He posited that it was only in coming together of all these factors that the needed medicines and essential products would become affordable and accessible to Africans.
Mr. Khalid Baddou the Chief Communication Officer of Mohammed VI Polytechnic University discussed the importance of pandemic preparedness.
He used the example of Morocco’s preparedness because the country has a healthy pharmaceutical industry that has been developing 60% of the country requirements before the pandemic; hence Morocco had the capacity to produce various medical supplies and especially autonomous respiratory machine which has helped in equipping about 3000 hospital beds.
Morocco’s strong pharma ecosystem has helped the country to produce 100% of medicines required to fight COVID-19. The country is now at a point to be able to supply other African countries.