The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for $3.56 million in grant funding to support the development of pharmaceutical industries in West Africa.
The Managing Director of the Bank for Nigeria, Lamin Barrow, and ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Industry and the Private Sector, Mamadou Traoré, signed the agreement for the Pharmaceutical Industry Development Support Project in West Africa recently.
A news report by African Press Organisation (APO) Group distributed on behalf of the bank indicated that the project’s cost totalled $3.77 million, to which the ECOWAS Commission will provide $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in-kind.
According to the report, the fund 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 (CET).
In addition, it will also help establish an effective regional pharmaceutical regulatory ecosystem by providing technical assistance programs for regional regulatory authorities.
Commenting on the deal, Traoré said: “Local production of pharmaceuticals and biologicals has become an imperative and a regional priority, as is the provision of healthcare delivery services. The African Development Bank’s support of these priorities will help ECOWAS achieve its development objectives.”
Speaking during the MoU pact ceremony held in Abuja, Barrow said: “The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed the fragility of our national healthcare systems and posed significant disruptions to the global health and pharmaceutical supply chains. This underscores the urgency of accelerating efforts to ensure a minimum level of supply of health products.”
Based on its design, 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 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.