Belgium takes a key role in European initiative to boost African Vaccine Manufacturing

health worker preparing a vaccine

MAV+ (Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technology Products in Africa) is a European initiative that saw the light in the wake of the corona pandemic, and in which Belgium has taken a leading role through its expertise and bilateral, non-governmental and multilateral funding.

MAV+ is to promote production of and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa. In collaboration with the African Union and the European Union, it aims to increase African vaccine production to 60% of Africa’s vaccine needs by 2040.

After negotiations between the administration, Germany, France and the European Commission, the technical implementation of the initiative was entrusted to a consortium of three European agencies: Enabel, Expertise France and GIZ. Enabel ensures the coordination.

The activities aim to guide the EU, Member States, the African Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC) and the African Partnership for Vaccine Production (PAVM) on pharmaceutical regulation, technology transfer and intellectual property, industrial development and cooperation with the private sector, as well as research and capacity development. Among other things, this should lead to national regulatory instances eventually attaining a level of quality (‘maturity level 3’ in World Health Organisation terminology) allowing them to decide on market access for vaccines produced in Africa. To this end, collaboration in Belgium is ensured with Sciensano, the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) and QUAMED (Quality Medicine for All).

Other activities include the material equipment of laboratories, the digitalisation of the operation of African agencies, and the establishment of a master’s degree in biotechnology at the University of Rwanda in cooperation with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Thanks to complementary parallel Belgian funding to the European initiative, Enabel will also support the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and the equitable access to quality health products in Africa. The coordination team, comprising about 10 people from Enabel, Expertise France and GIZ, is based in Enabel’s offices.

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