- Moderna has announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Kenya
- The firm’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, said the ‘mRNA’ facility would produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year
- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Kenya and the company to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa
American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna has announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Kenya.
On Monday, March 7, 2022, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Kenya and the company to establish the first mRNA manufacturing facility in Africa.
The firm’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, said the ‘mRNA’ facility would produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year.
The company said it would invest up to $500 million in the new facility, which will focus on drug substance manufacturing on the continent of Africa for the continent of Africa.
Bancel said the company remained committed to forging partnerships to provide a health solution saying the investment the company is making in Kenya is crucial as it is part of the solution to ensuring global health equity.
Bancel said that battling the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years has provided a reminder of the work that must be done to ensure global health equity.
“Moderna is committed to being a part of the solution and today, we announce another step in this journey – an investment in the Republic of Kenya to build a drug substance mRNA manufacturing facility capable of supplying up to 500 million doses for the African continent each year,” he said.
He said the mRNA global public health vaccine program, including vaccine programs against HIV and Nipah, will ensure sustainable access to transformative mRNA innovation on the African continent.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe signed the MOU on behalf of the Kenyan Government, while Shannon Klinger, Moderna’s chief legal officer, signed on behalf of the company.
Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Director for Africa Centre for Disease Control Dr. John Nkengasong said the setting up of the facility is critical to Africa’s security, noting that the production of the vaccines will ensure the continent can tackle current and future health challenges.
The signing of the MoU comes when President Kenyatta has been in the front of the African continent to manufacture its own COVID-19 vaccines to meet the demand of its population.
Kenyatta has been vocal about Africa’s capacity to manufacture vaccines, saying it would help arrest emerging pandemics.
He said that setting up the mRNA manufacturing facility will be a game-changer, especially for Kenya, whose vision is to produce vaccines.
“We are celebrating one of the greatest things that have possibly happened since the onset of COVID-19 at the African continent,” said President Kenyatta when he spoke.
The President reiterated the challenges faced by the African continent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted challenges were not because of its lack of finances to buy the vaccines but because the vaccines were not available for purchase.
“We all know the challenges that Kenya and the entire continent of Africa went through in the earlier stages of this pandemic. The problems resulted in Africa being left behind. Not because of want but because of lack, and Moderna has come to fill that space.
“We are truly grateful for this, and I think it will be transformative not just in helping us with the current pandemic but also preparing the continent of Africa for future pandemics,” President Kenyatta said.