On June 30, 2021, Rwanda and South Africa announced progress in their respective efforts to building Covid19 vaccine-manufacturing plants. Rwanda announced that it has mobilized RWF3.6 billion or US$3.6 million from the European Union to build a vaccine plant. On the same day, it was announced that South Africa had raised €600 million or US$711 million. The contributions to the South African effort came four organizations as follows: the World Bank’s IFC put in €200 million from own account; the French Development institution Proparco put in €156 million; DEG, the German development finance institution put in €144 million; the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) put in €100 million.
The joint financing package will support Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company in South Africa, to produce Covid19 treatment therapies and vaccines to supply the African continent. Aspen Pharmacare is the largest pharmaceutical company not only in South Africa but on the entire continent. With the noted financing, Aspen is ready to expand its role in fighting the Covid19 pandemic across Africa.
Aspen Pharmacare has partnered with Johnson & Johnson to compound, finish, fill and package covid19 vaccine at its facilities in South Africa. As Aspen Pharmacare’s CEO, Stephen Saad, has explained:
“Aspen’s teams are working tirelessly to optimize production of the Johnson & Johnson Covid19 vaccine for Africa at our manufacturing site in Gqeberha, South Africa. We are actively seeking opportunities to further extend and capacitate Covid19 vaccine manufacturing at this world-class production facility. Aspen is seeking to play a meaningful role in contributing to the objective of delivering the majority of Africa’s needs from production sites located in Africa.”
Meanwhile, Rwanda does not have a pharmaceutical company – how the country will produce Covid19 vaccines remains a mystery. Stay tuned.