Ethiopia launches construction of local vaccine manufacturing company


Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed

ADDIS ABABA – THE Ethiopian government has launched the construction of a vaccine manufacturing company, ShieldVax Enterprise, to stimulate local vaccine production for domestic consumption and export, local media reported.

The vaccine manufacturing company, with an investment of over 70 million U.S. dollars, will be built inside the premises of Ethiopia’s Chinese-built Kilinto Industrial Park on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

During the cornerstone-laying ceremony on Monday, Ethiopian Health Minister Lia Tadesse said the construction of the vaccine manufacturing enterprise is a tangible manifestation of the Ethiopian government’s ongoing efforts to ensure health for all.

Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of strong healthcare infrastructure and vaccine manufacturing capacity, Tadesse underscored that the project is anticipated to bring significant improvement in the supply of vaccines for domestic use and export to neighboring countries.

The Ethiopian government has long expressed concern over the minimal share of local pharmaceutical production in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation.

Official figures show that local production could only satisfy no more than 15 percent of the national demand, notably from a limited portfolio of medicines in conventional dosage forms.

Speaking to Xinhua recently, Habtamu Beyene, medicine registration and licensing director at the Ethiopian Food Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority, said the Ethiopian government, aware of the pressing challenge, has identified local pharmaceutical production as a key industrial sector and has been implementing a 10-year strategic plan to improve capabilities and attract investment in the sector.

“As a country, we need to do more to bring balance between the demand and supply sides in the pharmaceutical sector. We have to exert concerted efforts to promote local manufacturing of medicines and pharmaceutical products,” Beyene said.Ethiopia’s Chinese-built Kilinto Industrial Park, constructed by Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group Co., Ltd. at a cost of 204 million dollars and specializing in the pharmaceutical sector, is one of the 12 industrial parks and one free trade zone across the country.

– Xinhua News

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