IFC, Proparco, DEG and DFC partner to support vaccine and pharma manufacturing in Africa
To strengthen Africa's vaccine and pharmaceutical development and to accelerate the continent's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Proparco, the German Development Finance Institution (DEG) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced a partnership to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa.
Through the partnership, IFC, Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD Group), DEG and DFC, along with other partners, are exploring potential collaboration with vaccine producers on the continent, including Aspen, among others, to support the continued development of sustainable local vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa. This is expected to enable the continent to both respond to COVID-19 and be ready to respond to future pandemics and supply chain disruptions.
"Our common goal is that everyone who needs a COVID-19 vaccine gets one, and gets it fast. Through this partnership, we aim to generate replicable, lasting solutions to allow African countries to get life-saving drugs and vaccines to more people," said Makhtar Diop, IFC's Managing Director. "Creating and developing markets for vaccines and other pharmaceutical products is a priority for IFC in Africa. We need strong partnerships and cooperation between the public and private sectors to support countries and regions to combat this pandemic now and to build in the longer-term more resilient health systems and supply chains."
"Ensuring that everyone can access tests, treatments and vaccines is the only way to tackle COVID-19 and supporting the development of local vaccine production capacities is a vital part of the response," said Grégory Clemente, CEO of Proparco. "This partnership will provide significant support to African vaccine producers to increase local vaccine production. The objective of this collaboration is to produce more COVID-19 vaccines in the short term with state-of-the-art manufacturing capacities."
COVID-19 has highlighted the scarcity of local and regional pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing in Africa and the importance of investing in health systems more broadly to successfully fight the pandemic. This includes through expanded testing capacity, production of new therapeutics, and building up vaccine manufacturing. Currently, only one percent of vaccines needed in Africa are produced in Africa and according to the WHO, less than two percent of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered globally as of April 2021 were in Africa.
"In many aspects, the COVID-19-pandemic has painfully highlighted the need for increased international cooperation. As DEG we are happy to be able to rely on the international partnership of development banks and finance institutions. This well-proven and institutionalized network allows us to join forces quickly and to provide a strong response to the current pandemic. This includes the provision of financing for vaccine production in Africa but also for other sectors that strengthen the resilience of the local population such as the health sector in general, food production or housing matters," said Monika Beck, Member of the DEG's Management Board.
The private sector has a critical role in helping speed the production, availability and take-up of vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 and other vital health needs. The partnership will support regional vaccine manufacturers to strengthen production capacity, build technical skills and access knowledge sharing to increase COVID-19 vaccine production for regional and domestic use.
"Increasing the production of vaccines in Africa for Africa will save lives and diversify the global supply chain for vaccines," said DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchick. "The DFC is proud to partner with other development finance institutions to advance President Biden's goal of helping to vaccinate the world."
IFC's investments will fall under its Global Health Platform launched in July 2020 to help developing countries fight the coronavirus pandemic and increase their healthcare systems' resilience. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and to help meet the urgent need for vaccines, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and health services globally, IFC has committed $1.1 billion in COVID-19 related projects, of which $450 million fell under the Global Health Platform (GHP) that was created specifically to quickly target vaccines and related initiatives.