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AfDB, ECOWAS commit US$3.56M to boost pharmaceutical industry in West Africa

WEST AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed an MoU with the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for US$3.56 million in grant funding to boost pharmaceutical industries in West Africa.

The agreement has been signed in Abuja, to increase local manufacturing of high-quality, safe, effective, and accessible essential medicines, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines in the region.

The funds will support the implementation of regulations to allow duty-free access to pharmaceutical raw materials, packaging, and finished products under the ECOWAS Common External Tariff.

It will also help establish an effective regional pharmaceutical regulatory ecosystem by providing technical assistance programs for regional regulatory authorities.

Local production of pharmaceuticals and biologicals has become an imperative and a regional priority, as is the provision of healthcare delivery services,” said Commissioner Traoré.

The African Development Bank’s support of these priorities will help ECOWAS achieve its development objectives.”

The project will enhance the pharmaceutical industry’s competitiveness through improved quality and product standards and help ensure that the region complies with best practices in manufacturing pharmaceutical products and supplies.

It will also strengthen regional training institutions and laboratories to ensure that the required skills are available to support the industry’s regional growth in a gender-sensitive and environmentally friendly manner.

In response to calls from the African Union and the pharmaceutical industry, the AfDB has taken a leadership role in developing and driving a continental Vision and Action Plan for a new African Pharmaceutical order.

In addition, the project will advance the Bank’s efforts to support the harmonization of the regulatory environment for pharmaceuticals across Africa at the regional and continental levels.

This, in tandem with the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area, will deepen intra-African integration and trade, boosting regional markets.

The project aligns with three of the African Development Bank’s High Five strategic priorities: Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

It also advances the Bank’s Regional Integration Strategy for West Africa and is in line with the Bank’s gender strategy, and its strategic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ECOWAS Commission will be the executing agency for this project, which will run for two years, starting from 2022. The West African Health Organisation will be the implementing agency.

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