Brussels, 9 July 2021 | Team Europe formally agreed to support large-scale investment in vaccine production by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, alongside other support measures. The new manufacturing plant should reduce Africa’s 99% dependence on vaccine imports and strengthen future pandemic resilience on the continent. Belgium, together with Germany and France, is part of this European initiative.
Today, Team Europe is providing €6.75 million in grant support to enable technical feasibility studies and project preparation for the new facility at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar. Construction of the new plant is expected to start later this year, with 25 million vaccine doses being produced each month by the end of 2022.
"We are delighted with this initiative," says Jean Van Wetter, Managing Director of Enabel. "Enabel is already working with Senegal to strengthen its health systems and in recent weeks has been actively involved in identifying Belgiums’ added value in the local production of vaccines.
The agreement is part of a major package of investment in vaccine and pharmaceuticals production in Africa launched by Team Europe in May, which brings together the European Commission, EU Member States, and the European Investment Bank, and other financial institutions, in line with the EU’s Strategy with Africa and the strategy of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM).
“We fully join Team Europe. Vaccine equality is key to my policy and a major global challenge. Africa needs access to affordable, quality-assured health products. Belgium’s efforts go beyond increasing vaccine manufacturing capacities. They shall prioritise public health, reinforce epidemic preparedness and strengthen local health systems. We will support our Senegalese partners with the structuring of their pharmaceutical industry and the launch of a pharma production hub,” said Belgium’s Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy, Meryame Kitir.
Reducing Africa’s dependence in vaccine imports
Africa, a continent of 54 countries and 1.2 billion people, currently produces only 1% of the vaccines it administers. The remaining 99% are imported. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed Africa’s vulnerabilities in ensuring affordable access to vital drugs, vaccines and health technologies. Boosting local production will save lives, boost public health and health systems, and strengthen African economies, including supporting local jobs and enhance the sharing of crucial technologies.
The Institut Pasteur in Dakar already produces World Health Organisation approved vaccines and has been identified by the Government of Senegal and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Protection as a potential host for the new vaccine production plant. The new facility is expected to be built on land adjacent to existing research facilities. By the end of 2022, 25 million vaccine doses should be produced each month, which will significantly decrease the continents dependence of vaccine import.