IFC and development groups help finance vaccine production in Africa

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

(Reuters) – Global development groups including International Finance Corp (IFC) have said they will consider helping African producers such as Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd boost vaccine manufacturing in Africa, which has received relatively little of COVID-19 vaccines produced by rich countries.

The news comes after the European Union last week pledged € 1 billion ($ 1.22 billion) to build vaccine manufacturing centers in Africa. French President Emmanuel Macron also pledged on Friday to help the continent produce more vaccines locally.

IFC partners, including the US International Development Finance Corp (DFC), Proparco and the German development finance institution, said they would provide financing to manufacturers to strengthen vaccine production capacity, develop skills techniques and allow knowledge sharing.

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

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

“Increasing vaccine production in Africa for Africa will save lives and diversify the global vaccine supply chain,” said David Marchick, COO of DFC.

(1 USD = 0.8201 euros)

Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta

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