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HomeARM ARTICLESUnlocking Africa's Pharmaceutical Potential: Key Highlights from Addis Ababa Conference on Innovation...

Unlocking Africa’s Pharmaceutical Potential: Key Highlights from Addis Ababa Conference on Innovation and Technology Transfer

Leaders from diverse sectors including the private industry, government, and academia have converged in Addis Ababa to address the challenges hindering Africa’s ability to manufacture its own medicines and vaccines. With Africa spending over $14 billion yearly on importing pharmaceuticals, the inaugural international conference organized by the newly established African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF) marks a significant step towards fostering a robust and self-sufficient pharmaceutical industry across the continent.

The conference, attended by a hundred leaders from within Africa and beyond, aims to tackle various issues ranging from ensuring regional supply security to bridging technology gaps in both private sector development and public sector research and development (R&D). Additionally, discussions revolve around striking a balance between intellectual property rights and equitable access to medicines, particularly during and after pandemics. New financing models are also under scrutiny to catalyze investment in the pharmaceutical sector. Professor Padmashree Gehl Sampath, CEO of APTF, emphasizes the significance of this conference as a pivotal moment for Africa’s pharmaceutical sector. The foundation envisions a vibrant industry capable of innovating and manufacturing pharmaceutical products tailored to the continent’s needs. With a goal to double the number of pharmaceutical companies in the region by 2040, APTF is poised to drive substantial transformation.

Keynote speeches from prominent figures such as Mekdas Daba Feyssa, Monique Nsanzabaganwe, Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Edward Kwakwa, Michel Sidibé, and Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka frame the discussions around seven critical sessions spanning two days. These sessions cover a wide array of topics essential for the advancement of Africa’s pharmaceutical sector, including regional health security, technology transfer, and financing mechanisms. The conference kicked off with recorded messages from global leaders including Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, demonstrating their support for strengthening Africa’s pharmaceutical capabilities. Acknowledging the pivotal role of access to health products in achieving Universal Health Coverage, Tedros emphasized the importance of bolstering the continent’s pharmaceutical sector. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the alignment of global interests in investing in Africa’s pharmaceutical industry and stressed the need for proactive measures such as building partnerships and facilitating technology transfer. She underscored the crucial role of APTF in this endeavor.

The statistics underscore the urgency of the situation, with Africa importing over 70% of its medicines, despite bearing a significant disease burden. To reverse this trend, concerted efforts are required to overcome barriers to technology access and enhance research and development capabilities across the continent. Representatives from various organizations including the Science for Africa Foundation, Medicines Patent Pool, and African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative are present, alongside executives from African pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, emphasized the need for a conducive environment to foster pharmaceutical and biomedical R&D ecosystems in Africa. He highlighted the role of APTF, created with support from the African Union, in promoting technology access and facilitating collaborations.

Established in 2022, APTF serves as a catalyst for improving Africa’s access to essential pharmaceutical technologies. The foundation supports African companies in technology transactions, aids research institutions in becoming centers of excellence, and assists governments in shaping healthy product markets. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Senior Special Advisor to the president of the African Development Bank, lauded APTF as a game changer. He emphasized its role in removing barriers and facilitating partnerships that accelerate domestic production ventures in Africa. Supported by the German Ministry for Development Cooperation and Development, the International Conference on Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Technology Transfer in Africa’s Pharmaceutical Sector underscores the global commitment to bolstering Africa’s pharmaceutical capabilities.

Cite this article as (APA format):

AR Managing Editor (2024). Unlocking Africa’s Pharmaceutical Potential: Key Highlights from Addis Ababa Conference on Innovation and Technology Transfer. Retrieved from https://www.africanresearchers.org/unlocking-africas-pharmaceutical-potential-key-highlights-from-addis-ababa-conference-on-innovation-and-technology-transfer/


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