Rwanda, IFC Partner to Develop Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have signed a collaboration agreement to expand vaccine production capacity in the country and facilitate development in Africa.

The development comes days after Rwanda announced its association with BioNTech, a leading biotechnology company, and the kENUP Foundation to explore establishing end-to-end manufacturing capability for mRNA vaccines, arising from the company’s Malaria and Tuberculosis vaccine development programmes on the continent.

In a statement on Friday, RDB noted that IFC would help Rwanda conduct diagnostic and feasibility studies in order to establish a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing supply chain in Rwanda that could produce vaccines for both local consumption and export to Africa.

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“Rwanda aims to produce high-quality vaccines for the African market.”

“A production facility like the one envisaged in this collaboration agreement advances this objective,” Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the RDB said.

The Acting Regional Industry Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services in the Middle East and Africa at IFC, Samuel Dzotefe, observed that Africa must develop and maintain its own reliable vaccine supply and health industry.

“This partnership with the Rwanda Development Board is a vital step toward helping Africa build vaccine manufacturing capacity to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics,” said Dzotefe.

Additional potential vaccine and pharmaceutical production facilities are expected to be co-located with BioNTech in Kigali’s Special Economic Zone, according to the statement.

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The African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are aiming to have about 60 per cent of Africa’s routine vaccines produced locally by 2040.

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