The African countries should develop manufacturing capabilities in pharmaceuticals and reduce the level of imports of equipment and medicine in order to conserve foreign exchange, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has said.
Speaking in Cairo during the opening of a three-day consultation organised by the African Union Commission, in partnership with Afreximbank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), Amr Kamel – Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking – said that the Bank is committed to supporting the development of Africa’s pharmaceutical industry.
“Afreximbank is determined to continue implementing its health and medical tourism programme to help pave the way for investors and partners to develop the pharmaceutical industry in Africa,” said Mr. Kamel. “The continent unfortunately remains awash with fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs,” said Dr. Margaret Agama-Anyetei, Head of Health, Population and Nutrition of the Africa Union Commission. “This situation draws the continent away from its aspiration to guarantee high standard of living, quality of life and well-being for the citizens of Africa as envisaged by Africa’s Agenda 2063.
“In this regard, the Africa Union Commission seeks to advance implementation of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, building on continental trade initiatives such as the Continental Free Trade Agreement, recently endorsed by African Heads of States and government.”
Also speaking, Malinne Blomberg-Manager AfDB Egypt Country Office said: “The African Development Bank finds that this consultation is unique, as it brings together the three African organizations to have synergy in this strategically important area that will improve the quality of life for the people of Africa as well as create jobs which, collectively, will contribute to increasing economic growth on the continent”.
The three-day consultation has been held to discuss steps toward the creation of a fund to support pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa. It is being attended by key stakeholders who are brainstorming and defining the type of fund, scope of work, legal and institutional modalities for setting-up a mechanism for raising and channeling financial resources to development of the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Africa.
The consultation process is part of a comprehensive approach to the establishment of an African Pharmaceutical Development Fund capable of mobilising resources from the public and private sectors.
Participants include professionals and experts from the pharmaceutical, finance, banking and private sectors, as well as representatives of regional economic communities.