President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has said that the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will support the implementation of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) in Africa.

AfDB recently approved the establishment of the foundation to enhance Africa’s access to the technologies that underpin the manufacture of medicines, vaccines, and other pharmaceutical products.

According to the AfDB chief, Africa can no longer outsource the health care security of its 1.3 billion citizens to the benevolence of others.

Data from AfDB shows that Africa imports more than 70 percent of all the medicines it needs, amounting to U.S.$14 billion per year.

‘This is a great development for Africa. Africa must have a health defense system, which must include three major areas: revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality health care infrastructure’, Adesina said.

‘The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation provides a practical solution and will help to tilt the access to proprietary technologies, knowledge, know-how and processes in favor of Africa’.

African pharmaceutical companies do not have the scouting and negotiation capacity to engage with global pharmaceutical companies, thus they have been marginalised and left behind in complex global pharmaceutical innovations including Covid-19 vaccine production.

It is understood that the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will prioritise technologies, products and processes focused primarily on diseases that are widely prevalent in Africa, including current and future pandemics.

The foundation is expected to strengthen local pharmaceutical companies to engage in local production initiatives with systematic technology learning and technology upgrading at the plant level.

‘Even with the decision of the TRIPs Waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying – and will most likely continue to die – from lack of vaccines and effective protection’, Adesina added.

TRIPs is a multilateral agreement that establishes minimum standards for the regulation of different forms of intellectual property rights by member states of the WTO.

The WTO reached an agreement on the TRIPs waiver on 17 June, 2022, but the civil society regard it as a ‘partial waiver’ as it does not waive intellectual property privileges for vaccines, tests and medicines.

Photo source: AfDB


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