Home South African Pledge to raise R2.3 billion to support local Covid vaccine manufacturing

Pledge to raise R2.3 billion to support local Covid vaccine manufacturing

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Nine development partners have pledged to raise R2.3 billion to support Biovac’s mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in Cape Town.

The Biovac facility in Pinelands, Cape Town. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – In an effort to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity on the African continent, nine development partners have pledged to raise R2.3 billion to support Biovac’s mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub.

The Cape Town-based bio-pharmaceutical company, Biovac, is part of a consortium of organisations that has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Covax partners to establish the hub.

To realise the expansion and the production of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine and other vaccines, Biovac will need to raise around $150 million or R2.3 billion.

On Tuesday, the nine consortium partners said they aim to support Biovac in the manufacturing plant capacity and vaccine pipeline expansion.

Biovac CFO, Craig Mitchell, welcomed the announcement and said the move will create sustainable African vaccine manufacturing for the current pandemic.

“Covid-19 has proven that a more geographical spread of vaccine manufacturing is much needed globally, with the African continent having the least number of vaccine manufacturers,” he said.

The local company also entered into an agreement with Pfizer in July 2021 with the goal to manufacture up to 100 million doses of the vaccine for use exclusively in Africa.

African Development Bank group president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said the pandemic was a “wake-up call” that Africa could not outsource health supplies or rely on global supply chains.

“Africa must become self-sufficient. Health security is fundamental to economic security. We have developed a 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan/Continental Vision for Africa. We aim to increase the local production of pharmaceuticals to 70% by 2030, and of vaccines to 60% by 2040,” said Adesina.

The consortium of developmental partners include:

  • The African Development Bank (AfDB)
  • The CDC Group, a UK development finance institution
  • The DEG, a German development finance institution
  • The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)
  • The European Investment Bank (EIB)
  • The European Union Delegation to South Africa
  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC)
  • And the French development finance institution, Proparco
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