African Development Bank President: Africa must end its dependence on food and pharmaceutical imports | world News

Kigali (Reuters) – The African Development Bank (ADB) chief said Africa must wean itself off food and drug imports after the institution agreed to set up a pharmaceutical technology foundation and began processing food relief requests.

Africa has been hit hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as many countries are still struggling to recover, they are facing rising inflation and food shortages exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

“Africa must not allow itself to be endangered by over-reliance on others, whether it is for vaccines or for food,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Kigali.

“The truth is that when you depend on others, you are also highly vulnerable to trauma of any kind.”

The bank last month approved a $1.5 billion financing facility for emergency food production, aiming to avert a looming food crisis. The money aims to help 20 million farmers produce 38 million tons of food.

Political cartoons on world leaders

Adesina said the bank has already received requests from countries to withdraw from the fund.

“Once these things get to our board of directors, they are quickly reviewed and approved, and the money goes out at the door,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank this week approved the creation of a new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.

Adesina said the foundation will allow Africa to take advantage of intellectual property rights, protected technologies and innovations to expand the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing sectors in Africa.

“Africa imports between 80% and 90% of all its medicines for a population of 1.3 billion people. We cannot and should not outsource Africa’s health security to the charity of others,” he said.

The World Trade Organization last week approved a partial waiver of intellectual property rights to allow developing countries to produce and export COVID-19 vaccines.

(Reporting by Clement Oringiyimana; Editing by Joe Bavier and Bradley Perrett)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.