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Afreximbank, Africa CDC pledge $2bn in support of health, pharmaceutical manufacturing

By Stanley Onyeka, Lagos

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and the Africa Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), yesterday, renewed their partnership with a new cooperation agreement announced today on the sidelines of the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation in Paris, France.

Through this collaboration, Afreximbank has committed a $2 billion facility to the “Africa Health Security Investment Plan” to support the health product manufacturing ambition of the continent.

According to a joint statement posted on its official website, this initiative will focus on the African Pooled Procurement Mechanism (APPM), and the Platform for Harmonized African Health Products Manufacturing (PHAHM).

It added that the initiative is pivotal in addressing Africa’s health investment challenges, promoting economic development, and strengthening health security across the continent.

The statement reads further: “It also intends to complement GAVI’s innovative financing mechanism, the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA) which is set to provide up to $2 billion financing to African manufacturers of health and pharmaceutical products over the next 10 years.

“African pharmaceutical companies face severe impacts of the global health, security and economic challenges, yet they are the drivers of investments and technology advancements that the health sector needs.

“Low investor confidence, lack of appropriate infrastructure, trade related barriers, and regulatory challenges are some of the constraints to investment in Africa’s health sector.

“While funds might be available, many potential investments do not materialize due to financial and non-financial obstacles. Coordinated efforts at the continental level are essential to reverse this trend and align with the New Public Health Order.

Closing the investment gap will be crucial to achieving the African Union’s ambition of manufacturing 60% of vaccines needed locally by the year 2040 as well as implementing all other countermeasures necessary to ensure self-reliance especially during crises such as pandemics and outbreaks.

Low investor confidence, lack of appropriate infrastructure, trade related barriers, and regulatory challenges are some of the constraints to investment in Africa’s health sector.

Health security

Commenting on the agreement, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, was quoted as saying: “We are pleased to be part of yet another momentous event that will change the course of health security in Africa.

“This facility will help strengthen the manufacturing of health and pharmaceutical products in Africa through our comprehensive and existing interventions such as Project Preparation funding, Project and Trade Finance as well as Guarantees.

“Furthermore, we intend to put our full weight behind this facility with equity investments through our subsidiary FEDA – the Fund for Export Development into Africa.”

Also speaking, the Director-General, Africa CDC, Dr. Jean Kaseya, said: “Today is a big day for African vaccine manufacturing as well as health products manufacturing in general, as we welcome these major investment announcements that will change the face of health products manufacturing in Africa for years to come.  

“Protecting our future, means investing in our ability to achieve self-reliance on all health countermeasures; vital to accomplish our mission of safeguarding Africa’s health.”

The “Africa Health Security Investment Plan” will allow Afreximbank to support and finance key health projects identified by the Africa CDC.

The joint effort combines institutional and financial resources, financial tools such as equity and debt financing, guarantees, venture capital, capacity building, and risk-sharing to boost and attract more health investments in Africa.

The ‘Africa Health Security Investment Plan’ is built on three key pillars:

  • Technical Assistance and Advisory Services: A single-entry point for health project preparation and implementation, with capacity-building support from the Africa CDC.
  • Investment Project Pipeline: A clear, forward-lookinglist of health investment projects in Africa, accessible through Afreximbank Project Portal.
  • Regulatory and Normative Support: implementing programs to remove bottlenecks and create a conducive environment for trade and investment, guided by the Technical Steering Committee of Africa CDC- AfCFTA.

The plan aims to tackle Africa’s health investment challenges, promote economic growth, and enhance health security across the continent.

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