IFC and development groups to help fund vaccine production in Africa

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

(Reuters) – Global development groups including International Finance Corp (IFC) said they will explore helping African producers such as Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd boost vaccine manufacturing in Africa, which received relatively few COVID-19 immunizations produced by rich nations.

The news comes after the European Union last week promised 1 billion euros ($1.22 billion) to build vaccination manufacturing hubs in Africa. France’s President Emmanuel Macron also promised on Friday to help the continent produce more vaccines locally.

IFC’s partners, including U.S. International Development Finance Corp (DFC), Proparco and German Development Finance Institution, said they will provide financing to manufacturers to strengthen vaccine production capacity, build technical skills and enable knowledge sharing.

The financing is intended to help Africa respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics, but no timeline was specified for the effort.

Some 1.53 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only around 1% of them in Africa, according to recent data from the World Health Organization.

“Increasing the production of vaccines in Africa for Africa will save lives and diversify the global supply chain for vaccines,” DFC Chief Operating Officer David Marchick said.

($1 = 0.8201 euros)

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