The European Union (EU) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have signed an agreement worth Rwf 3.6 billion to promote the Rwandan tourism and health sector.
This agreement will strengthen the capabilities of the Rwandan Food and Drug Authority (RFDA), which is critical to making Rwanda more attractive to invest in vaccine manufacturing.
EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “I welcome the agreement reached today to strengthen the capacities of the Rwandan Food and Drug Administration (RFDA), which is key to making Rwanda more attractive to invest in vaccine manufacturing and other drugs, helping to improve access to drugs. “
Urpilainen added that it was an important step in supporting local health product manufacturing in Africa.
“As announced by President von der Leyen, Team Europe will continue to support the country and Africa in strengthening the regulatory framework and attracting investment in the pharmaceutical sector,” he said.
Dr. Daniel Ngamije, Rwanda’s Minister of Health, said upgrading Rwanda’s regulatory capabilities to required international standards is a critical step on our path to vaccine manufacturing.
“The European Union is a key partner in our efforts to close the vaccine justice gap in Africa by building pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities,” said Ngamije.
Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), believes access to vaccines is critical, especially for Africa, where only about 1% of vaccines are manufactured on the continent.
“This agreement strengthens Rwanda’s efforts to build an ecosystem for manufacturing vaccines and medicines to contribute to the health security of our region and our continent,” she said.
The initiative agreed today will help the RFDA build a strong quality control laboratory for medical devices and provide new equipment for an integrated information management system.
This will help the RFDA achieve the required level of World Health Organization (WHO) certification to fully fulfill its role in ensuring the safety, efficacy and quality of vaccines and pharmaceutical products.
The agreement is part of a comprehensive medium-term # TeamEurope support to bring the laboratory, technical and organizational capacities of the agency to a high level of performance.
As part of this effort, the EU delegation will also seek to facilitate a peer-to-peer partnership between the RFDA and the national regulators of EU member states.
In addition, the EU and the European Investment Bank are discussing a partnership with the Rwandan government to facilitate and encourage investments by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the country, including exploring co-financing opportunities and risk mitigation of potential investments.
In May 2021, at the G20 Global Health Summit in Rome, the EU announced a #TeamEurope initiative for the manufacture and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa. The initiative will help create a favorable environment for local vaccine production in Africa and remove barriers on both the supply and demand sides, supported with € 1 billion from the EU budget and European development finance institutions such as the European one Investment Bank (EIB). This amount is further topped up by contributions from EU Member States.