The African Union Development Agency partners with DFS Africa in effort to drive local Pharmaceutical production in Africa


Africa’s leaders are keen to let the world know about opportunities in the Pharmaceutical sector. Africa’s status as one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world has transformed the continent from a focus of corporate social responsibility to a potential major profit center for the global pharmaceutical industry. In a world of slowing and stagnating markets, Africa represents the last geographic frontier where genuinely high growth is still achievable, said Tania Holt, principal in McKinsey and Company.

As a result, industry leaders such as GSK, Novartis, Sanofi, and AstraZeneca have been expanding their commercial footprints into Kenya, Nigeria, and other sub-Saharan African countries outside of South Africa. Today almost every major multinational pharmaceutical company is represented in one or more of Africa’s 54 nations, said Holt, co-author of the 2015 McKinsey report, Africa: A Continent of Opportunity for Pharma and Patients.

Undergirding the pharmaceutical industry’s long-term view of Africa as a potential economic engine of growth are the following data points from the McKinsey report:

  • Africa’s pharmaceutical industry grew from $4.7 billion in 2003 to $20.8 billion in 2013. By 2020, the continent’s market value should total $40 to $65 billion.
  • Consumer spending, which totaled $1.8 trillion in 2013, is expected to reach $2.4 trillion by 2020.
  • During the five-year period ending in 2020, strong growth can be expected in Africa in medical devices as well as prescription, generic, and OTC drugs.

The African Union Development Agency (formerly NEPAD) coordinates and executes priority regional and continental development projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realization of Agenda 2063 – Africa’s vision and action plan.  One of its concrete efforts is implementation of the previously established political commitments, including the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA) and its related Business Plan and the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) Programme. It has recently partnered with DFS Africa to organise the Africa Pharma Conference 2019 to be hosted in Johannesburg.  The conference will focus on access to medicines and health commodities. The series of events and sessions will highlight the progress, achievements, and challenges faced by African governments in developing the Pharmaceutical sector and discuss best practises to catalyse local production. DFS Africa will also be running a Deal Room event over 2 days in parallel with the conference. The Deal Room provides opportunities for pre-qualified Pharmaceutical companies to meet with Africa focused institutional investors looking to invest in Pharma and Access to Medicines.

What differentiates the Africa Pharma Conference from other industry conferences is the fact that over 2 days you have policy makers, senior government officials, civil society, UN Agencies, Development finance and Pharma focused private equity to discuss and act on strategies to grow local production. This presents a huge opportunity for international Big Pharma.

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