The European Union has announced an additional €32million toward strengthening the country’s ability to manufacture vaccines.

The initiative, known as the ‘special measure’, aims at creating an enabling environment and thriving ecosystem to produce a skilled workforce for the domestic vaccine-production sector, as well as facilitate technology transfer and exchange of best practices between Ghana and EU member-states.

It is backed by €1billion from the EU budget and European development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) under EU’s Global Gateway.

The European Union Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, during a press briefing in Accra stated that: “In response to the call made by African leaders, including President Akufo-Addo at the G-20 Global Health Summit in Rome in May 2021 to boost vaccine production in Africa, the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen announced the Team Europe initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa, also known as MAV+.

“This is one of several mechanisms the EU is rolling out in Ghana and across Africa to support local manufacturing of vaccines. The EU’s focus is to work together with Ghana to ensure optimal quality in the production of vaccines, and we have been delivering on this promise.”

He added that in April the EU provided a €5million seed grant to the vaccine-manufacturing unit at DEK Vaccine Limited, and in partnership with the German Development Cooperation it launched a project to upgrade the vaccine licencing capacity of the Food and Drugs Authority.

He further noted that the support not only serves as proof that the EU is able to adapt to rapidly emerging needs and trends, but showcases how a strong commitment from the government and its leadership can lead to additional support from development partners.

“It is noteworthy that our support comes on top of our joint programming for 2021-2027 with Ghana,” he said.

He assured that the EU will build on its existing initiatives to support manufacturers and strengthen the regulatory environment, while also creating new and exciting partnerships on research and development.

He further stated that it will support the transfer of crucial knowledge and technology, as well as bolster the country’s capacity to produce skilled workers the sector needs.

He commended the country for making remarkable progress toward the goals outlined in its ambitious vaccination roadmap.

The ambassador was optimistic that with the help of Team Europe and other key development partners, the country’s quest to graduate from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, by 2029 will become a reality.

The Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines (MAV+) initiative forms part of priorities for the European Union to support African countries create an enabling environment for local vaccines manufacturing, and tackle barriers to supply and demand in the sector.

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