Cooper Pharma, a leading Moroccan pharmaceutical company, yesterday signed a deal that paves way for construction of a plant in Rwanda to manufacture antibiotics.
The deal is one of the outcomes of talks between the Government and the visiting high-level delegation from Morocco led by King Mohamed VI that arrived in Rwanda on Tuesday for a three-day state visit.
The drugs that will be locally produced include beta-lactam antibiotics, which are among the most commonly prescribed drugs, including Penicillins, grouped together based upon a shared structural feature, the beta-lactam ring.
The plant, set to be operational in 2019, will be built on a plot of 10,000 square metres in the Kigali Special Economic Zone in Gasabo District.
The plan, according to officials, is to also produce non beta-lactam drugs, in line with local market needs and good manufacturing practices internationally.
Commenting on the deal, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) chief operating officer Serge Kamuhinda said this will play a major role in reducing the trade deficit created by a heavy import bill.
“The market entry of Cooper Pharma, a leading company in pharmaceuticals, is in line with the long held wish by the Government to have a pharmaceutical plant in Rwanda. This will reduce our trade deficit and boost exports,” said Kamuhinda.
According to a statement, Cooper Pharma Laboratories and RDB signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the first such pharmaceutical plant in Rwanda.
The agreement is reportedly the second of its kind by Cooper Pharma, after the one previously signed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
King Mohamed VI and his delegation are in the country on the first leg of his three nation tour that will also see them visit Tanzania and Ethiopia.
The idea of the project also fits into the larger East African Community’s (EAC) pharmaceutical manufacturing needs.
In the past, East African Community countries set up a platform to address the challenges the region was facing in the provision of safe, efficacious, and affordable quality essential medicines.
The provision of such medicines and other quality health commodities remains a major challenge in the region due to inadequate local production and over reliance on importation of finished pharmaceutical products from outside the region.
Based in Casablanca, the Moroccan capital, since 1933, Cooper Pharma works with health professionals to achieve a mission of offering to a large number of people access to quality drugs.
In the context of globalisation, Cooper Pharma focuses part of its strategy on the international market, thus considering export as a vector of development and competitiveness, the firm said.
The company has reportedly adapted its internal organisation in order to create and maintain a synergy between its In-licensing and Out-licensing activities.