IFC, partners support COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility of Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal
13-07-2021 08:38:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 3227 | Tags:

To scale up the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, IFC announced a collaboration with the Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD), a vaccine maker and non-profit healthcare foundation mandated to support public health improvements in Africa.

IFC and four other institutions, the Agence française de développement (AFD), the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), will provide up to $14 million in grant funding to IPD along with project development support, helping it kick start a manufacturing hub for COVID-19 and other vaccines. The project is also co-financed by the Government of Japan through the Comprehensive Japan Trust Fund (CJTF) as part of its support for IFC's Global Health Platform (GHP) that was created specifically to support vaccines and related initiatives.

"Ensuring equitable access and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa is urgent. IPD, with the support of the Government of Senegal and partners (IFC, AFD, DFC, European Commission, European Investment Bank), is leveraging its 80 years' experience in manufacturing the WHO prequalified yellow fever vaccine to tackle this challenge through the expansion of its current capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. This partnership is an important step to help build sustainable health security in Africa," said Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, General Administrator of IPD.

The announcement comes as governments across Africa have called on the international community to bolster the continent's vaccine supplies to counter COVID-19— in the midst of a fast-growing new wave of infections spreading across the continent, and other endemic diseases. Just a little more than 1 percent of the African population has been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Fast-tracking vaccine production for Africa in Africa is paramount to facing down this unprecedented pandemic and mitigating future waves of COVID-19," said Makhtar Diop, IFC's Managing Director. "This partnership will set a template for sustainable vaccine manufacturing across the continent and is one of several initiatives IFC will be rolling out to strengthen the health systems in Africa."

Africa depends on other countries for most of its vaccine supply needs with 99 percent of the region's vaccines imported. The African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are aiming to have 60 percent of routine vaccines consumed on the continent to be produced locally by 2040. The Africa CDC identified Senegal as one of three candidates to serve as a potential vaccine manufacturing hub in Africa.

The collaboration between IFC and IPD is designed to support that goal. It will significantly upgrade the capacity of IPD's vaccine manufacturing facility in Dakar, allowing it to produce COVID-19 vaccines as a first step, with plans to expand into other vaccines in the medium term. The total project cost is estimated at $200 million.

IPD currently manufactures yellow fever vaccines, with a capacity to produce between 5-8 million doses per year. The institute is uniquely positioned to produce COVID-19 vaccines as it is the only manufacturer prequalified by the WHO to produce vaccines in Africa. IPD has developed a comprehensive plan to scale up its manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines, with an ambition to supply more than 20 percent of the continent's needs by 2022.

Along with IFC and its partners, several other organizations are supporting the IPD manufacturing facility, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Proparco, the German International Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ), the German Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW) and the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK FCDO).

The World Bank Group has been scaling up support to countries to produce, acquire and deliver vaccines to more people, particularly in Africa. IFC is working with the private sector to expand vaccine production in developing countries and the investment in IPD follows the €600 million joint financing package IFC announced in June 2021 in partnership with Proparco, the German development finance institution (DEG), and the DFC  for Aspen, a pharmaceutical company based in South Africa that is playing a major role producing COVID-19 treatment therapies and vaccines on the African continent.

IFC has committed $1.82 billion in COVID-19 related projects since March 2020, of which $1.15 billion falls under the Global Health Platform.