Biovac and Development Partners Collaborate to Support South Africa’s Vaccine Manufacturing Expansion and Advance Long-Term Health Security Across Africa

Consortium of nine development partners to support Biovac’s expansion of its existing vaccine manufacturing plant capacity, and enable the production of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines; Biovac to raise around $150 million (ZAR2.3 billion) to boost increased local vaccine manufacturing capacity across the African continent; Partners include AfDB (www.AfDB.org), CDC Group, DEG, DFC, EIB, IFC, Proparco, the European Union Delegation to South Africa, and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC).

To support South Africa and the African continent increase vaccine manufacturing capacity and reduce reliance on imports, a consortium of nine development and finance institutions have today announced a partnership with Biovac in Cape Town, South Africa to support Biovac’s vaccine manufacturing expansion.

Biovac, a bio-pharmaceutical company and established vaccine manufacturer based in South Africa, is part of a consortium (https://bit.ly/3Izu6EK) of organizations that has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its COVAX partners to establish the first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub in South Africa. Biovac has also entered into an agreement with Pfizer in July 2021 with the goal to manufacture up to 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use exclusively in Africa.

Biovac aims to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa initially through its current activities related to the production of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and subsequently for much needed routine vaccines as well. This will bolster the global response to COVID-19 and advance long-term health security throughout the African continent. This expansion is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development (SDG) Goal 3 on Good Health and Well-being by improving access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines; and UN SDGs 8 and 9 on improving economic opportunities and upgrading technological capabilities of the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Africa. To realize the expansion and increased local vaccine manufacturing capacity on the African continent, Biovac will need to raise around $150 million (ZAR2.3 billion).

The consortium partners will aim to support Biovac in this future manufacturing plant capacity and vaccine pipeline expansion. The consortium partners include the African Development Bank (AfDB), CDC Group – UK’s development finance institution which is soon to be renamed British International Investment, the German development finance institution DEG, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union Delegation to South Africa, International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), and the French development finance institution Proparco.

“COVID-19 has proven that a more geographical spread of vaccine manufacturing is much needed globally, with the African continent having the least number of vaccine manufacturers. We are pleased that the consortium of funders is willing to work with Biovac to create sustainable African vaccine manufacturing, not only to respond to the current pandemic, but also to much needed routine vaccines and future pandemic vaccines as well,” said Biovac CFO Craig Mitchell.

“We have developed a 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan/Continental Vision for Africa. We aim to increase the local production of pharmaceuticals to 70% by 2030, and of vaccines to 60% by 2040. Today’s announcement with Biovac is a strong testament to our pledge to make direct investments in manufacturers and provide leadership to support the development of the pharmaceutical industry on our continent. Africa must become self-sufficient. Health security is fundamental to economic security,” said African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, adding the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call that Africa could not outsource the health of its people to other continents or rely on global supply chains. 

“Accelerating vaccine delivery to countries that need them the most must become a global priority, and this requires collective effort. CDC is thrilled to be a part of this consortium that brings together DFI expertise and capital to support Biovac in contributing to scaling vaccine production across Africa, and bolster the continent’s response and self-reliance on this and other health crises,” said Tenbite Ermias, the CDC Group’s Managing Director for Africa.

“It is essential to join forces to address medical care in Africa. This is why we welcome Biovac’s initiative to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa. Besides strengthening vaccine production on site, it has a positive signaling effect for South Africa as a medical hub. We are happy to support the development of this project and look forward to strengthening the cooperation,” said Roland Siller, CEO of DEG.

“The United States is proud to collaborate on this effort to expand manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 and other critical vaccines in Africa in order to improve healthcare on the continent,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “Supporting the global community’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening health systems in developing countries are top priorities for DFC. This project advances President Biden’s Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative by bolstering global health infrastructure.”

“Scaling up vaccine production in South Africa is crucial to accelerating global immunization and beating COVID-19. EIB Global is working with African and international partners in supporting vaccine manufacturing, improving public health and enhancing economic resilience to the pandemic across Africa. As part of Team Europe, the EIB is pleased to join financial partners to support Biovac’s plans to produce vaccines in South Africa for Africa,” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for development.

“Our differentiated approach to find the best way to assist partner countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic has made possible EU funding to help unlock significant Development Finance Institution loans in support of South Africa’s own vaccine manufacturing capacity. The EU grant is an expression of Team Europe’s unwavering commitment to the global fight to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Riina Kionka, the EU’s Ambassador to South Africa.

“The IDC has a long-standing partnership with Biovac. From the onset, the Corporation appreciated the company’s long-term objectives to establish a world-class commercial vaccine production facility. Recent development in vaccines access has reinforced the need to scale up and ensure capacity to manufacture vaccines locally, for our country and our continent,” said Hilton Lazarus, IDC’s Head of its Chemicals, Medical and Industrial Mineral Products Business Unit.

“This unique partnership will help boost the production and manufacturing capacity of a range of vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, in Africa. With strong partnerships and increased investment, manufacturers in Africa, such as Biovac, can ramp up domestic vaccine production to build a more resilient health sector and strengthen regional value chains,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC Managing Director.

“France is strongly committed to increasing vaccine production and access in Africa, as illustrated by its support to the creation of the continent’s first mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub announced by President Emmanuel Macron in June last year. Through this partnership with Biovac and our DFI partners, Proparco will build on its experience working with local pharmaceutical companies and further contribute to scaling up vaccine manufacturing capacities in South Africa,” said Gregory Clemente, CEO of Proparco.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).About Biovac:
Biovac was established in 2003 to revive local human vaccine production in Southern Africa. Alongside the development of the local vaccine industry, through steep investment in local skills and modern facilities, the company has secured high profile technology transfers from international pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Sanofi Pasteur for the manufacturing of paediatric vaccines. The company currently supplies a comprehensive range of vaccines in support of the South African Department of Health’s Expanded Programme for Immunisation. In addition to supplying millions of doses of vaccines per year, across South Africa and into some neighbouring countries, Biovac has been distributing COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa under various temperature conditions. Biovac has recently entered into partnership with Pfizer and BioNTech to manufacture their Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for distribution within the African Union. For more information, please visit: www.Biovac.co.za; https://bit.ly/3MaLAJG; https://bit.ly/3Me8oYY.

About The African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. Through the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative, the Bank aims to reduce the $42 billion gender gap in access to finance and unleash women’s entrepreneurial capacity across the continent. For more information: www.AfDB.org

About CDC/BII:
CDC will formally become British International Investment plc on 4 April 2022. British International Investment is a trusted investment partner to businesses in Africa, parts of Asia and the Caribbean. It will commit between £1.5 and £2 billion per annum between 2022 and 2026 to support the UK government’s Clean Green Initiative and to create productive, sustainable and inclusive economies in Africa, parts of Asia and the Caribbean. British International Investment plays a key role in the UK government’s wider plans to mobilise up to £8 billion a year of public and private sector investment in international projects by 2025. Over the next five years, at least 30 per cent of BII’s total new commitments by value will be in climate finance. This will make us one of the world’s largest climate investors in Africa. BII is also a founding member of the 2X challenge (www.2Xcollaborative.org) which has raised $10bn to empower women’s economic development. Find out more at www.CDCgroup.com

About DEG:
For almost 60 years DEG has been a reliable partner to private-sector enterprises operating in developing and emerging-market countries. We provide our customers with tailor-made solutions, including financing, promotional programmes and advice tailored to individual needs. They can thus develop successfully and sustainably, while generating local added value and creating qualified jobs. With our portfolio of around EUR 9.2 billion in approximately 80 countries we’re one of the world’s largest private-sector development financiers. Learn more: www.DEGinvest.de

About DFC:
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

Visit www.DFC.gov and @DFC_gov on Twitter to learn more.

About EIB:
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. EIB Global (https://bit.ly/3ppTHbq) is the EIB Group’s new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe (https://bit.ly/3hsEJ07), alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world (https://bit.ly/3HvG40L). 

About The EU:
The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union between 27 European countries. The EU is based on the rule of law: everything it does it founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by its Member States. Its three main institutions are the European Parliament (representing the citizens of the Union), the Council of the European Union (representing the national governments of its Member States), and the European Commission (representing the common EU interest). It actively promotes Human Rights and democracy and is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since its birth in 1950, the EU has developed into a single market with the euro (€) as a common currency. It is both South Africa’s biggest trading partner and its dominant source of Foreign Direct Investment. It remains an important development partner to South Africa, providing significant external assistance funds alongside its Member States and the European Investment Bank. For more information, see: http://european-union.europa.eu/index_en, and follow the EU Delegation to South Africa on Twitter: @euinsa 

About the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa:
The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) is a self-financing national development finance institution. The Corporation supports industrial capacity development by proactively identifying and funding high-impact projects, creating viable new industries, and using diverse industry expertise to drive growth in priority sectors. This is done to facilitate sustainable direct and indirect jobs, promoting entrepreneurial development and growing the SME sector.

About IFC:
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.IFC.org.

About Proparco:
Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group). It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for over 40 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle-East. Its action focuses on the key development sectors: infrastructure, mainly for renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, health and education.

Its operations aim to strengthen the contribution of private players to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. To this end, Proparco finances companies whose activity contributes to creating jobs and decent incomes, providing essential goods and services and combating climate change. For a World in Common.

For further information: www.Proparco.fr and @Proparco on twitter.

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