The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched a €50 million scheme to support active pharmaceutical ingredients in Africa.
EIB contends the scheme will reduce dependency on drug imports and address medical supply chain weaknesses linked to COVID-19. It is also expected that the scheme will improve availability of specialist drugs and tackle supply chain challenges that currently damage public health across Africa.
Accelerating high-impact pharmaceutical investment across Africa is crucial to improve public health, address medical supply chain weaknesses and unlock long-term economic development.
In addition, is that scaling up pharmaceutical investment in Africa will help to protect millions of people from disease and disability and strengthen resilience to ongoing and future pandemics.
Also, increasing local production will reduce dependency on imports and exposure to counterfeit drugs.
The scheme will enable Africa to benefit from predicted doubling in local pharmaceutical sales over the next decade, improve access to healthcare and create specialist jobs on the continent.
This financing programme will also ensure that African pharmaceutical manufacturing can benefit from technological innovation that is currently transforming the industry and making local production easy through digital connectivity, automation and cloud computing.
Dr Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão, World Health Organisation Assistant Director-General responsible for Access to Medicines and Health Products stated that:
“COVID-19 has highlighted how public health in Africa is vulnerable to global supply chains and dependent on international production.”
“Increasing local specialist manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients will help to improve the public health of millions of Africans. This new initiative demonstrates how specialist pharmaceutical and financing expertise can create jobs and a better future for Africa.”
The initiative is aligned with the World Health Organisation’s goals and the recently announced cooperation between the EIB and WHO to combat COVID-19 and strengthen health system resilience to better face future pandemics.
Long-term financing will be available in USD, EUR and local currency and can cover more than 50% of the total cost of eligible investment, as part of the EIB’s exceptional response to COVID-19.
EIB financing can co-finance projects alongside philanthropic, equity, development financing or support from commercial banks.
The EIB initiative will provide long-term financing for pharmaceutical production across sub-Saharan Africa and specifically target the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients that constitute 45% of final drug costs.
The European Investment Bank is the lending arm of the European Union. It is the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance.