Today, at the Global Gateway Forum in Brussels, the EU signed an additional €500 million for global health reinforcing the financing partnership recently launched between the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a further €134 million to increase local manufacturing and equitable access to quality, safe, effective and affordable health products in six African countries.
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “One of the key lessons of the COVID pandemic was that vaccine and medicines sovereignty is key to defeating global health threats. This is why, also thanks to Global Gateway, Team Europe is investing massively in local vaccine and medicines production around the world, with more than €1.2 billion for Africa already. Among many other projects, the mRNA technology vaccine manufacturing in Africa and for Africa will be a game changer to fight many diseases, from Malaria to COVID.”
Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “Improving primary health care and unlocking health, medtech and pharmaceutical innovation is crucial to improve health around the world and a key focus of the impact focused Global Gateway partnership. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support EUR 500 million of new investment in global health in cooperation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission.”
Boosting global health
The €500 million signed today will reinforce the financing partnership recently launched between the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total amount for advancing global health to €1.6 billion under this partnership.
This additional funding provides a significant boost to strengthening healthcare capacities worldwide and contributing to making health innovations more accessible, increasing the security of pharmaceutical supply chains, and preparing for future pandemics.
The European Commission will guarantee €500 million in loans by the EIB, focusing on commercially viable private sector initiatives by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to strengthen health systems, primary health care R&D, production and marketing of vaccines, medicines and medical technology and skills.
The funded projects in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia, will be jointly developed by the EIB, the European Commission and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Projects can cover, for example, efforts to make health innovations such as mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics more accessible to people in low- and middle-income countries or increasing the diagnostic and health laboratory capacity of African countries.
This significant increase in funding for global health and human development is expected to be matched with complementary funding provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Advancing equitable access to health products and local manufacturing in Africa
During the Forum, the EU also announced an additional €134 million to increase local manufacturing and equitable access to quality, safe, effective and affordable health products in Egypt (€3 million), Ghana (€32 million), Nigeria (€18 million), Rwanda (€40 million), Senegal (€25 million) and South Africa (€16 million).
The funds will complement on-going activities of the Team Europe Initiative on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies in Africa (MAV+), launched by President Ursula von der Leyen in May 2021 in response to the call from the African leaders to step up local manufacturing of vaccines in Africa for Africa in line with the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing launched by the African Union. The implementation of the initiative is a key priority of the EU Global Health strategy, which is a fundamental part of the Global Gateway Strategy, and of the African Union – European Union Innovation Agenda.
The additional funding announced today will support the creation of sustainable ecosystems for equitable access to and local manufacturing of vaccines, medicines and health technologies in six African countries:
Africa imports 99% of its vaccines and over 90% of its medicines. According to the World Health Organization, over 50% of people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to essential medicines.
The Team Europe Initiative on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies (‘MAV+’) works with African partners to strengthen their local pharmaceutical systems and manufacturing capacity. It offers a comprehensive, 360-degree approach to tackle barriers on both supply and demand sides. The overall objective of the TEI is to facilitate access to quality, safe, effective and affordable health products as outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal target 3.8. Supporting access to essential health products and technologies is an opportunity to target several development objectives and geo-political priorities shared by both the EU and the African Union.
The Global Gateway Forum brings together for the first time an assembly of government representatives from the European Union and across the globe, alongside key stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, thought leaders, financial institutions, and international organisations to promote global investment in infrastructure – hard and soft – to deliver on the SDGs and sustainable growth and resilience worldwide.
Global Gateway is the EU's positive offer to reduce the worldwide investment disparity and boost smart, clean and secure connections in digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems.
The Global Gateway strategy embodies a Team Europe approach that brings together the European Union, EU Member States, and European development finance institutions. Together, we aim to mobilise up to €300 billion in public and private investments from 2021 to 2027, creating essential links rather than dependencies, and closing the global investment gap.
Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “With its Global Health Strategy, the EU is committed to strengthening health systems and securing global chains around the world, while boosting our partners’ strategic autonomy, promoting universal health coverage and preventing future health emergencies. These additional Global Gateway support measures will bring in more actors from the private sector and civil society. Notably, they provide targeted support to our African partners in building capacities of local production of pharmaceuticals and medical technology.”
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