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Can Africa make the medicines it needs? [Business Africa]

Business Africa presenter interviews Lenias Hwenda, the CEO of Medicines for Africa   -  
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Business Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Africa’s vulnerabilities in ensuring access to vital drugs, vaccines, and health technologies.

The continent imports nearly 95% of all medicines it uses.

Only 3% of global medicine manufacturing is done in Africa. But the continent is emerging from the pandemic wiser. Voices in support of developing more robust local pharmaceutical manufacturing are growing.

Africa has roughly 375 drug makers mostly located in the north of the continent. South Africa and Kenya also boast varying degrees of pharma manufacturing capacity.

There is virtually no medicine manufacturing happening in about 36 sub-Saharan African countries.

Rolled out in 2005, the African Union’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA) seeks to increase local African pharmaceutical production.

The value of Africa’s pharmaceutical industry will be worth $56 billion by 2030 according to predictions by Goldstein Market Intelligence. But this has not translated into more investment and technology needed to grow African medicines manufacturing.

Lenias Hwenda is the CEO of Medicines for Africa. She joins the show with insights on how to boost local pharmaceutical production and how countries should approach the issue of vaccine-making technology transfer.

ILO and Africa: Unmet needs, expectations

Since its founding over a century ago, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has never been led by an African.

The race to choose the agency’s next director-general later this March has two African nationals, who say they want to make the ILO more relevant in the Global South.

Kenya: M-pesa users exceed 30 million

Kenya’s plan to increase cashless payments saw a new milestone this week after Safaricom’s M-pesa platform grossed 30 million active users.

It means nearly the entire adult population of Kenya uses the service to send money and pay for goods and services.

The platform boasts 51 million users across Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Lesotho.