By Amba Mpoke-Bigg

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) hosted its lead partners at a meeting on the sidelines of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2023 held in Kigali, Rwanda.

The meeting, which took place from 9-10 March, was dedicated to identifying a clear set of annual objectives and deliverables for the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) in 2023. It brought together the PAVM’s secretariat and representatives from partner organizations including the African Union Development Agency, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Africa Vaccine Manufacturers Initiative (AVMI), and members of academia.

The lead partners reviewed the eight bold programs outlined in the PAVM Framework for Action, prioritized a set of practical actions and defined a collaboration framework that enables implementation, effectiveness and quick results in support of African vaccine manufacturing.

The Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing(link is external) was established by the African Union, under the Africa CDC, in 2021, to enable the African vaccine-manufacturing industry to develop, produce, and supply over 60 percent of the total vaccine doses required on the continent by 2040, up from less than 1 percent. PAVM’s vision is to build manufacturing capacity to produce at least 1.5 billion vaccine doses per year by 2040.

“Safeguarding Africa’s health can only be achieved through our ability to manufacture the health products we need on the continent. The new public health order outlines it well in its Pillar 2: Expanded Manufacturing of Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics to democratize access to life-saving medicines and equipment,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, Acting Director of Africa CDC.

“The ability of PAVM to achieve its bold goal will require all the partners in the room to invest in all aspects of local manufacturing that are required for an increased supply of locally manufactured health products. This will include access to financing, market shaping and design, technology transfers, talent development,” Dr. Ogwell added.

PAVM has developed significant convening power, technical capabilities and an infinite mindset to galvanize global and regional partners around smart solutions to regulatory capacity building, technical partnerships, vaccines’ procurement pooling mechanisms and access to innovative finance. It is cementing an ecosystem of action-oriented partners in support of achieving the African Union’s vision of 60% locally produced vaccines by 2040.

Achieving the 2040 vision is possible when access to finance for all vaccine manufacturing projects across all project phases is coordinated and facilitated. To support the bankability of projects, co-lead partners of the Access to Finance bold program, AfDB and Afreximbank agreed to collaborate with PAVM as it convenes existing project preparation facilities on the continent to finance project preparation activities.

The African Development Bank is implementing a flagship program in support of local vaccine manufacturing in line with its 2030 Vision for the Development of Africa’s Pharmaceutical Industry and the 2040 AU/ACDC vision for increased local vaccine manufacturing. The bank’s interventions will support a strategic pillar aimed at increasing the maturity of the industry by supporting the development of local production capacities, and 4 enablers, namely: enabling regional logistic integration, supporting the implementation of quality industry standards, seeding the creation of R&D capacities and paving the way for increased vaccines manufacturing.

Afreximbank intends to build on and replicate its successful collaboration with the Africa Union and Africa CDC during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the PAVM platform through the provision of innovative financing solutions across the vaccine manufacturing value chain. This is through availing of early-stage project preparatory support, financial advisory services, project finance and risk bearing instruments.

“Thanks to the AfCFTA Secretariat, a pooled procurement mechanism for vaccine supply will benefit from friendly trade policies that cater for easy and low-cost movement of vaccines and vaccine inputs across borders,” saidThemba Khumalo Coordinator, AfCFTA Secretariat.

“Our African local manufacturers are at a competitive disadvantage due to the different market forces, including poor and inefficient production value chains, high cost of production of medicines and vaccines and poor financing and financing models. Hence, we need to accelerate our actions in support of developing the capacity of local manufactures,” said Dr Simon Agwale, a vaccines manufacturing entrepreneur.

He added that research and development capacity need to be developed because the diseases that plague the African continent are not necessarily the diseases that plague other regions.

“African scientists need empowerment and support to develop their own intellectual property for developing active pharmaceutical ingredients and thereby solving the huge gap of an end- to- end manufacturing. An industry based on fill and finish operations alone, will not be strategic or economically sustainable,” Agwale said.

The meeting concluded with a renewed commitment from partners to work together to strengthen the collaboration and coordination of efforts for an improved vaccine ecosystem in Africa. 



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