AFRICAN MIRROR CORRESPONDENT
AFRICAN countries are using their collective economic muscles to use the multibillion procurement economy created by the devastation of COVID-19 to help rebuild the economies across the continent.
The African Union has established the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), a single marketplace to enable the supply of COVID-19-related critical medical supplies. The move is expected to boost the drive to buy “Made in Africa” goods.
The AMSP was launched by AU chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The unique facility is designed to unlock immediate access to an African and global base of vetted manufacturers and procurement strategic partners and enables African Union Member States to purchase certified medical equipment such as diagnostic kits, PPE and clinical management devices with increased cost-effectiveness & transparency.
A statement from the AU said the platform serves as a unique interface enabling volume aggregation, quota management, payment facilitation as well as logistics and transportation to ensure equitable and efficient access to critical supplies for African governments.
The online platform was developed under the leadership of African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa and powered by Janngo on behalf of the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and in partnership with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and other leading African & international corporations, institutions and foundations.
The AU said that Afreximbank will facilitate payments while logistics partners including African national carriers and global freight forwarders will expedite delivery. A strong emphasis is also placed on showcasing and funding Made in Africa manufacturers of medical equipment with relevant certification.
Afreximbank brought to bear its $3-billion Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA), of which $200 million has been reserved to support food production as well as the manufacture of, and trade in, medical equipment and supplies.
Masiyiwa said “The Africa Medical Supply Platform is just one innovation that African countries have developed, to help mitigate the devastating impact of this pandemic threatening both the health of our people and our national economies. We are already getting requests from other parts of the world to license the AMSP concept,” he said. “Africa is leading the way with this online solution to ensure all of our governments get access to PPEs and other urgent medical supplies they need, at fair prices.”
Africa CDC is leveraging the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 to aggregate supply and demand for COVID-19-related medical commodities by African Union Member States, providing a list of priority products, overseeing quality assurance, and facilitating distribution of medical resources.
“We commit to providing market intelligence on where the manufacturers are, facilitating pooled procurement when financial resources are made available through this initiative, and distributing these products to respective African destinations,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said the whole initiative was important because the increasingly difficult global trade and financing environment would not only limit the potential of African countries to procure essential supplies, but could also limit their ability to scale up their production capacities.
“Our joint initiative with ECA and the African Union, through Africa CDC, is a proactive way to respond to the pandemic more effectively,” he said. “Afreximbank is also engaging its development partners in COVID-19 response efforts to mobilise additional resources and technical assistance.”
ECA is making use of existing platforms, including its AfCFTA-anchored pharmaceutical pilot project, jointly established with the African Union Commission, WHO, and UNAIDS, to improve economically sustainable access to safe medicines through enhanced localized manufacturing, pooled procurement and a continentally harmonised regulatory and quality framework.
“We are engaging private sector stakeholders and governments to adopt policies to urgently bolster the production and supply chain of critical medical and associated resources that Africa needs to respond to COVID-
19 in a manner that promotes the economic and social development of the continent,” said Ms Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of ECA.
Afreximbank, ECA and African Union Trade Commission will also jointly advocate for the removal of trade tariffs and other restrictions on medical supplies in Africa in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will support countries to adopt policies to strengthen intra-African trade in COVID-19-related equipment and improve quality control and adherence to regulatory standards.
Other key strategic partners include Virgin (Orbit and Galactic) and Invicta (ESG), a first of its kind-alliance producing FDA-approved ventilators and oxygen helmets in South Africa and Janngo, leveraging its venture building capabilities, technology expertise & cross-border marketplace track-record to build and launch the platform. All major strategic & commercial partners of the initiative can be found on the platform website : www.amsp.africa
*Visit the Africa Medical Supplies Platform at: www.amsp.africa