AfDB approves $14bn fund for Africa medicine

African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the establishment of African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation for Africa’s access to technologies.

According to the bank, this is for the manufacture of medicines, vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.

In a statement by the bank’s Communication and External Relations Department on Monday in Abuja, the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina described the development as a leap for Africa.

He said, with Africa importing more than 70 per cent of all the medicines it needs and consuming 14 billion dollars per year, the establishment of the Foundation was a major development.

Adesina said “Global efforts to rapidly expand manufacturing of essential pharmaceutical products including vaccines in developing countries, particularly in Africa, to assure greater access, had been hampered.

“This has been hampered by intellectual property rights protection and patents on technological know-how, manufacturing processes and trade secrets.

“African pharmaceutical companies do not have the scouting and negotiation capacity, and bandwidth to engage with global pharmaceutical companies. They have been marginalised and left behind in complex global pharmaceutical innovations”.

He decried that of 35 companies which recently signed a licence with America’s Merck to produce Nirmatrelvir, a COVID-19 drug, none was African.