Analysis: Why Africa’s Push to Make Vaccines Should Look Further Than COVID-19
It’s unlikely that vaccine manufacturing will offer Africa a quick fix for COVID-19. Countries on the continent are grappling with a diverse array of challenges. These include vaccine hesitancy, supply bottlenecks and a lack of operational funding and human resources to administer jabs.
Still, the political will to boost local manufacturing of vaccines is rising across the globe, including in Africa – and has never been this high.
The reason is simple. COVID-19 has shown that regions and countries take care of their own people first when crises hit. Africa wants to be able to do the same. To do so, the continent must seize new opportunities to fast-track the development of vaccine manufacturing capacity and to boost regulatory processes.
In 2020, about 40 African countries participated in a World Health Organisation (WHO) training marathon to build manufacturing capacity. All 54 countries on the continent also supported Ethiopia’s recently passed resolution to the 74th World Health Assembly, focused on strengthening local production of medicine and health technology. At the recent G20 Global Health Summit, the European Commission also announced a new initiative on manufacturing in Africa, backed by €1 billion.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Schludi.