2021 Mar. 23 09:30 AM
2021 Mar. 23 11:00 AM




Permanent Mission of Zambia to the WTO and UNIDO

Mobilizing Resources to Build Resilient Local Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industries in Developing Countries - Challenges and Opportunities




The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the strategic imperative of building resilient manufacturing capacity for essential medicines and vaccines in developing countries and regions. There is the potential to improve availability of essential medicines and accelerate access to novel products whilst protecting the innovation ecosystems that have so rapidly developed COVID19 vaccines. Developing the assets that can achieve these ends requires an ecosystem that ensures sustainable high-quality production. Requisite components of such systems include a conducive environment that supports investment, access to markets, robust regulatory oversight, and access to technology. Africa bears a disproportionate burden of disease and is dependent on imports for many essential medicines and most vaccines. The disruption to global supply chains caused by the COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of the continent and underlines the need to strengthen local production of these products. There are ongoing initiatives in this field, but accelerated progress requires a redoubling of efforts. Coordinated application of ´push´ and ´pull´ interventions could help build conducive environments and establish the market returns that will stimulate investment. The international community can play a catalytic role by targeting Official Development Assistance and Other Official Flows through a combination of capacity building, budget support, and market commitments/signalling. This adjustment will accelerate progress towards sustainable industry sectors in medicines and vaccines and lead to improved and more resilient access in Africa and other developing regions of the world.

The session will consider issues, including:

  • • Challenges hampering progression of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa;
  • • Opportunities for accelerated industrial development of the pharmaceutical sector to i.a. better prepare the continent for future pandemics and crises;
  • • Voluntary licensing and technology transfer as a means to increase access to innovative medicines and vaccines;
  • • Targeted official development assistance and other official flows to accelerate transformational change of the pharmaceutical sector;
  • • The role that the international pharmaceutical industry could play in supporting the development of the sector in Africa.

Finally, the panel will consider how international interest in pharmaceutical industry development in Africa can be harnessed to build and sustain momentum for the long-term benefit of all.


H.E. Mrs. Martha Lungu MWITUMWA, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Zambia to UNIDO and to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva, and Chair of the Friends of Industry and Innovation

High-level Panel

Mr. Günter Nooke – Personal Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa (TBC)

Mr. Stanley Okolo – Director General, West African Health Organisation (WAHO)

Ms. Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye – Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria

Mr. Adbu Mukhtar – Director, Industrial and Trade Development, African Development Bank (AfDB)

Mr. Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento – Managing Director, Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-Business, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)


Interpretation services will be available in English and French.

Find out more about the Aid-for-Trade event here.

Concept Note

Download the English version here.

Download the French version here.

Related articles and publications

COVID-19: Long-term support for biotech yields vaccine promise in Cuba

Roadmaps for developing the pharmaceutical industry in West Africa

Project Publications Pharmaceutical Sector

Other sessions at the WTO Aid for Trade Stocktaking event