A Renowned British multinational pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline, has listed Rwanda as one of the places it considers putting up a production plant as part of its move to form innovative partnerships to transform medicines supply in Africa.
In a statement, the firm said they are looking to partner with several African countries to develop domestic manufacturing capacity.
The move will see the firm invest up to £100 million (about Rwf113 billion) to expand its existing manufacturing capability in Nigeria and Kenya and build up to five new factories in Africa.
“GlaxoSmithKline is currently reviewing possible locations in countries, including Rwanda, Ghana and Ethiopia, and the selected sites will be announced in due course and subject to government agreement,” the statement reads in part.
Trade and Industry minister Francois Kanimba told The New Times that Rwanda would be willing to host the pharmaceutical firm in the event they were to invest in the country.
“I’m sure it is because they have made their analysis of the market potential and conditions and found them acceptable. Rwanda will be ready to host the pharmaceutical firm. The field is still virgin and there is quite significant demand here,” Kamanzi said.
He said considering Rwanda as a potential investment destination was a strong vote of confidence that would boost the country’s visibility globally.
Nathan Mugume, the head of Rwanda Health Communication Centre, said GlaxoSmithKline establishing a plant in Rwanda would play a significant role in improving access to medicines and supporting and enhancing healthcare in the country.
The new facilities will be built to globally recognised good manufacturing standards and will make locally relevant products such as antibiotics, as well as respiratory and HIV medicines.
The initial focus will be on secondary manufacture with the aim of transfering the technology, skills and knowledge needed to enable local manufacture of more complex products over time.
The new plant will create a network of localised industry and employment for skilled workforce drawn from communities.
To support the scale-up of domestic manufacturing and supply, the pharmaceutical will establish up to 25 academicians in African universities in areas such as pharmaceutical sciences, public health, engineering and logistics.
These will facilitate the development of new courses as well as internships and student exchanges, and will be pivotal to ensuring manufacturing capability is locked into the continent to help attract further investments.
GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Andrew Witty underlined the firm’s intent to partner with African governments to help stimulate research in chronic diseases, increase capacity by localising medicines supply and strengthen healthcare infrastructure.
“Today, we are setting out further steps to tackle Africa’s dual health burden of infectious and emerging non-communicable diseases and help build crucial capacity to underpin the development of the healthcare sector in the region,” Sir Witty said.
“We have a unique opportunity to deliver meaningful social and economic value to communities we work in, using scientific expertise and our global reach to develop innovative medicines.”
Witty said GlaxoSmithKline global focus is on how they can support development beyond 2015.
It is the right moment for business to play a more active role in contributing to a more prosperous future in Africa, investing in infrastructure, building skills and capability to unlock human potential and create jobs.