In November, 2022 in Abidjan, the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the organisation that handles the African Development Bank Group’s (www.AfDB.org) concessional loans, approved a grant of $6.63 million to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) for the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the sub-region.
The project is institutional assistance for the growth of the region’s pharmaceutical industry, and it will be carried out over a three-year period (2023–2025). The capacity of pharmaceutical regulatory organisations, product quality control and management systems, and research and development organisations will be strengthened in particular. The goal is to produce and market safe, high-quality pharmaceuticals for Covid-19 and other illnesses.
The sub-regional body will benefit from the project’s assistance in implementing continental strategies on pharmaceutical production, as well as in streamlining and harmonising the processes for registering new drugs. It will also ensure that essential medical supplies and technologies are available. Additionally, a portal for information will be developed for pharmaceutical makers, importers, and exporters.
Public organisations that are directly involved in the development of the pharmaceutical business, such as national drug regulatory agencies, quality control labs, local training programmes for pharmacists, universities and research facilities, will gain directly from the project.
According to Leila Mokaddem, director general of the African Development Bank for Southern Africa, “the goal is to empower them to help the pharmaceutical sector so that they can make safe vital medicines locally for the needs of the population, especially women and children.”
Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the 21 nations that make up the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.