Leveraging the AfCFTA to Promote the Pharmaceutical Industry – Wamkele Mene
He said the pharmaceutical industry could build the continent’s research and development capacity, harmonize drug registration regulations and help countries comply with best practices and international standards.
“It will, among others, strengthen the fight against substandard and counterfeit medicines and medical products, while promoting the creation of an enabling environment for the continental production of medicines and vaccines,” he said.
Mr. Mene was delivering the closing remarks at the 8th annual London School of Economics (LSE) Africa Summit held in London on Sunday on the theme: “African Prosperity through Peace, Health and Development “.
First created by LSE students and held in 2014, the two-day conference creates the platform to center Afro-centric research and critically explore issues, in response to a rapidly changing continent.
This year’s edition brought together leading African policymakers, academics, politicians, activists and businesspeople to engage in topical conversations about prosperity on the continent.
Mr. Mene said that improving the health of a country’s citizens could directly lead to economic growth, as more people would be able to carry out effective activities in the labor force.
He said health was a challenge for all nations because, in a study by the Pew Research Center, a median of 85% of people polled thought it was a problem in their country.
“Effective public health systems are essential to provide care for the sick and to institute measures that promote well-being and prevent disease,” he said.
Mr. Mene said the operationalization of the AfCFTA has put Africa in a stronger position to address challenges in health, especially in the pharmaceutical industry.
This, he said, would be done by creating a platform to harmonize national standards, consolidate purchases of medicines and pharmaceuticals, and increase investment in pharmaceutical production and exports.
“Indeed, regulation would be key to ensuring that Africa’s 1.3 billion market is protected from counterfeit, substandard and counterfeit products and services,” Menesid said.
Mr. Mene said the AfCFTA was also an important instrument to help African countries engage in joint procurement of essential medicines and medical devices, as seen at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.
He said the pandemic has intensified the need for African countries to build their capacity to produce pharmaceuticals and vaccines as well as pharmaceutical investments and technological support.
“These investments will depend on enabling factors such as intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, regulatory approval of new drugs, funding, among others, which are enabled by the AfCFTA,” he said.
The AfCFTA Phase II Protocol on IPRs, Mr. Mene said, would create an enabling environment for the creation, protection, administration and enforcement of intellectual property, which will boost the innovation and competitiveness in the business sector.