The government of Senegal will build a COVID-19 vaccine production plant that will meet the demand for vaccines in Africa with the help of an international coalition of partners, the European Commission ad Thursday.
Construction of the facility, which will be hosted by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, should start this year, with a target of 25 million doses produced per month by the end of 2022.
The plant will be built with technical and financial assistance from the EU and the European Investment Bank as well as the US and the World Bank.
In a statement, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the deal will help African countries reduce their dependence on external partners. Currently, the continent imports 99% of its vaccine doses.
She also pledged that “more will come” and that this was just the start of a “much larger” program to support the manufacture of vaccines and drugs in Africa.
“Team Europe”, which includes the Commission, the member countries, the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, provides funding of € 6.75 million for technical studies and project planning. Germany is also providing 20 million euros to support the regional manufacturing hub.
The aid is part of the Commission’s program 1 billion euros of push to help improve the manufacture and access of vaccines and drugs in Africa.
Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, present at the project’s signing ceremony, told POLITICO earlier this week that the Commission’s target is to help Africa achieve ‘60% local production’ of vaccines .
The news is part of a new push from the continent to secure doses amid hesitant efforts by COVAX, the global vaccine facility. This comes just two days after the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it was awaiting the first doses of vaccine from the important agreement the AU task force had on vaccine procurement. in Africa (AVATT).