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This amount of vaccines may sound considerably large but in reality its not, its actually  only enough to vaccinate a mere 17 per cent of the population and that is way below the intended global year-end target of vaccinating 40 per cent of Africa’s population.

As such, this shortfall in vaccine doses is worsened by the misconceptions that are keeping the public from usurping even the few doses that have made it into the continent. Falling short of explaining why, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the COVAX facility has been forced to reduce the amount of planned vaccine deliveries to Africa.

According to the WHO, some 150 million vaccines that were intended for delivery to Africa this year will not make it. As a result, the continent is facing a shortage of more than 500 million doses.…

Vaccine - WHO

If the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa that was recently adopted by the African Union is anything to go by, only few member states have strong regulatory authorities with the functions necessary to oversee the pharmaceutical markets.

Africa represents 14% of the world’s population, however, it only contributes to less than 0.1 per cent of world’s vaccine. According to data by the World Health Organisation, (WHO) there are fewer than 10 African manufacturers with vaccine production. These are based in five countries namely Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. There is very limited upstream production with most local companies only engaging in packaging and labelling, and occasionally fill and finish steps. Noteworthy, there are about 80 sterile injectables facilities on the continent, which may provide an opportunity for vaccine production given the primary dosage form in Africa is vials.

How does that capacity affect vaccine availability in the continent?

African leaders assembled at a global meeting to discuss the status of local pharmaceutical manufacturing on the continent, underscored the need to increase local production of vaccines and therapeutics to achieve greater public-health security.

“The production of vaccines and access to vaccines is an absolute priority,” Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said Monday in opening remarks at the start of the two-day virtual meeting, convened by the African Union.

The meeting was attended by several African heads of state, health, finance, and trade ministers from across the continent, as well as officials from global financial institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, business leaders, and the general public. The African Development Bank was represented by Solomon Quaynor, Vice President Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialization.

Although Africa consumes approximately one-quarter of global vaccines by volume, it manufactures less than 1% of its routine vaccines, with almost no outbreak vaccine manufacturing in place. The


The super spreading virus that triggered a pandemic of global proportions has entered a second wave. Most African countries are struggling to cope. Their already fractured health systems are at pains and facing challenges in handling the ballooning cases. Lockdowns and travel restrictions are still in place for some countries, greatly impacting economic activity. 

For example, Zimbabwe is currently in the middle of a month-long lockdown with only essential services operating. The restrictions have shut down all informal sector activity, which forms the bulk of economic activity. In South Africa, level 4 restrictions induced the closure of the busiest land borders. …

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Africa's battle for the Corona vaccine

Vaccine diplomacy will take centre stage for the global political economy in 2021. It is rapidly emerging as an important tool in the arsenal of global superpowers as they seek to expand their geostrategic influence amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Affordable and equitable access to Covid vaccines has the potential to shape the global economic recovery, and speedy and effective rollout represents a huge opportunity to redraw global power maps and reshape strategic alliances. Naturally, the stakes are high, and the competition is intense to achieve both first-mover advantage and scale.

Africa will emerge as a theatre of competition. But with limited financial resources and a lack of bargaining power the option set will be limited for African countries as they try to procure the vaccine. This lopsided power dynamic, which has entrenched them firmly at the back of the vaccine queue, is being described as vaccine apartheid. John Nkengasong of …