Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed has announced that Egypt will join the agreement to establish the African Medicines Agency (AMA), to localise the manufacture of medicines and vaccines across Africa.
During a press conference on Monday with Michel Sidibé, the African Union’s envoy for the AMA, Zayed expressed Egypt’s welcome to join the agreement. It began work during Egypt’s presidency over the AU in 2019.
She said that the agency was able to start in August 2019 after many African countries signed the agreement. It highlights the importance of Egypt’s accession to this agreement, given its pivotal role in Africa, especially in the field of drug manufacturing.
The AMA is to be approved during the upcoming African summit, and Egypt is seeking to host the agency’s headquarters in Cairo.
Zayed added that the agreement aims to unify the laws and legislations related to the circulation, registration and pricing of medicines among African countries.
This is in addition to encouraging governments in Africa to increase investment in the field of drug manufacturing, especially after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The minister added that Egypt will work through the AMA to serve the African people, and supply them with medicines and vaccines that are produced locally in Egypt. This will come after achieving local sufficiency according to the signed agreements, with the importance of the growth and development of pharmaceutical industries in Africa emphasised.
Moreover, Zayed praised Sidibé’s efforts to complete and approve this agreement by February, thanks to his experience over the past 10 years with UNAIDS. He has also currently serves as Mali’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs.
She also welcomed Sidibé’s visit to Egypt during which he will visit Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) factories.
During the visit, he will learn about Egypt’s experience in the production of vaccines, the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA), in addition to the Egyptian Medicine City.
For his part, Sidibé praised Egypt’s pivotal role as the largest African country in the manufacture of medicines and vaccines, stressing the importance of concerted efforts of different African countries in the localisation of the pharmaceutical industry.
He noted that the AMA will be a major bonus for the continent that seeks to achieve sufficiency in medicines and vaccines in Africa, and transfer manufacturing technology between countries.
Sidibé said that the global pharmaceutical industry represents $1,400bn annually, while this industry in Africa represents 0.7% of the global market size.