The two banks’ financing will enable African countries to boost local production of medicines and thereby reduce imports.
Under an aide-memoire signed on 16 February 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have committed to strengthening health protection systems through the development of the pharmaceutical industry in African countries. The banking institutions are linked by a joint action plan that allows them to develop a common pipeline of bankable projects, around key complementary axes to which each would bring its comparative advantage. The plan “covers lending for public and private sector projects and pharmaceutical development projects with a regional approach“, says the AfDB.
The agreement just signed by the AfDB and the IDB hides a concern to boost local production of medicines and limit imports. In the CEMAC zone, Cameroon expressed in January 2022, its willingness to boost this dynamic in view of the low productivity of the pharmaceutical sector.
According to the Directorate of Pharmacy, Medicines and Laboratories of Cameroon’s Ministry of Health, 2% of pharmaceutical products available on the national market are local, compared to 98% from imports. For its part, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) of Cameroon informs that the country imported in 2021; 22,374 tons of pharmaceutical products for 188.311 billion CFA francs of which 15.1% came from France.
Therefore, the agreements signed on February 16 are an extension of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2017 between the AfDB and the IDB and extended until 2023. The US$ 2 billion (more than CFAF 1,228 billion) envelope allocated was aimed at intensifying co-financing in strategic sectors such as infrastructure, human development, private sector development and investment promotion.
Looking ahead, the African Development Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank will also cooperate in the organisation of a global pharmaceutical business forum in May 2023.