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ECOWAS and AfDB sign $3.5m agreement for regional pharmaceutical industry

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the economies of the world, particularly Africa, it has also exposed the inadequacies and weaknesses in the health sector.

As a consequence, African countries have seen the urgency to make efforts at strengthening their health sectors, especially the pharmaceutical industry.

The ECOWAS Commission has signed a protocol agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB), for a project to support the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the West African region with some $3.5 million, a press release copied to Ghana Business News has said.

During the signing in Abuja, Mr. Lamin Barrow, the Director-General of the AfBD said the agreement was for the provision of a $3.56 million grant to support West Africa’s pharmaceutical industry.

“The bank has been a key partner of the ECOWAS Commission, providing financial and technical assistance to Member States to support the implementation of ECOWAS’ regional integration agenda.”

According to Barrow, the AfDB’s active portfolio in West Africa consists of 350 projects for a total commitment value of $15.5 billion.

He also noted that the intervention aims to reduce the heavy reliance on imported pharmaceutical products from South-East Asia which accounts for about 70 per cent, with local vaccine production accounting for around one per cent of the domestic demand.

While reaffirming the Bank’s continued support to ECOWAS, he urged the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), as the implementing agency of the grant, to ensure judicious use of the fund towards building a resilient healthcare system in the region.

The Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector at ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Mamadou Traore, thanked the Bank for the provision of the grant and expressed deep gratitude for the cooperation between the AfDB and the various ECOWAS Institutions.

He added that the signing of the agreement has further cemented the solid relationship between these great institutions particularly towards the development of the automotive and pharmaceutical industry in the region.

He promised on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO, the two implementation institutions to make good use of the grant.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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