Everything you need to know as Africa launches medical supplies portal to beat COVID-19

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa who doubles as the chairperson of the African Union on Thursday detailed how Africa’s medical supplies portal launched today could help the continent beat COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Mr. Ramaphosa was joined at a virtual press briefing by Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, Strive Masiyiwa, AU Special Envoy, Vera Songwe, an economist and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC and Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

The Africa Medical Supplies Platform is a single online marketplace that enables the supply of COVID-19-related critical medical equipment in Africa. That means governments in Africa no longer need to spend hours wondering who makes PPEs or test kits, where they make them, how much they cost or how they can confirm the producers are certified and genuine. The new platform takes care of all of that headache for them, and for free.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

The African Union hopes the portal would unlock immediate access to an African and global base of vetted manufacturers and procurement strategic partners and enable African Union Member States to purchase certified medical equipment such as diagnostic kits, PPE and clinical management devices with increased cost effectiveness and transparency.

The platform serves as a unique interface enabling volume aggregation, quota management, payment facilitation as well as logistics and transportation to ensure equitable and efficient access to critical supplies for all African governments.

Mr. Ramaphosa described the Africa Medical Supplies Platform developed in partnership with Afreximbank as a ground-breaking innovation.

“It is a continental online portal to enable every single African country to access critical medical supplies needed in the fight against the pandemic. 

“Through this platform we will address shortages and security of supply, ensure price competitiveness and transparency in procurement, reduce logistical delays, simplify payment processes and provide a common platform where governments can access services from quality and certified suppliers.

“Think of it as the Amazon, the Alibaba or even the Ebay of coronavirus resources on the African continent. Made in Africa by Africans,” he said.

According to him, the fundamental difference being that on this platform the buyer is not an individual, but governments. And countries will be able to directly source from manufacturers in both the necessary quantities and at competitive prices.”

Mr. Ramaphosa explained that once a vaccine is available, it will be added to the medical supplies portal to ensure equitable access to any form of lifesaving medication.

“Resources will be secured by governments on a quota basis determined among other things by vulnerability level,” he added in his opening renarks.

The benefits of resource pooling in such a manner are innumerable, he said, noting that time, competitive pricing, security supply, amongst other.

“Firstly, the time factor. Countries will have ready access to an online marketplace with the click of a button, as opposed to the onerous and time-consuming process of scouring the globe to procure these medical supplies. 

“Secondly, competitive pricing. Connecting manufacturers and suppliers with governments directly removes the ‘middle man’ in supply chain processes that far too often becomes the doorway into which corrupt practices like price inflation and ‘agent management fees’ enter.

“Thirdly, security of supply. By pooling the needs of the continent, we manage to achieve quantities of scale and present suppliers with a large and assured market. 

“Finally, and arguably most importantly, with this platform we are laying another building block towards the African Continental Free Trade Area, whose launch has been delayed by the pandemic.

“African manufacturers and suppliers will have a platform for their products and services. Manufacturing and industrial activity in African countries will be catalysed as governments seek competitively priced goods and services from nearby markets.  Made in Africa is our goal,” he said in his opening remarks.

The online platform was developed under the leadership of African Union Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa and powered by Janngo on behalf of the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and in partnership with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and other leading African and international corporations, institutions and foundations.

Afreximbank will facilitate payments while logistics partners including African national carriers and global freight forwarders will expedite delivery. A strong emphasis is also placed on showcasing and funding Made in Africa manufacturers of medical equipment with relevant certification. Afreximbank brought to bear its $3-billion Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA), of which $200 million has been reserved to support food production as well as the manufacture of, and trade in, medical equipment and supplies.

“The Africa Medical Supply Platform is just one innovation that African countries have developed, to help mitigate the devastating impact of this pandemic threatening both the health of our people and our national economies. We are already getting requests from other parts of the world to license the AMSP concept,” Special Envoy Strive Masiyiwa said.

“Africa is leading the way with this online solution to ensure all of our governments get access to PPEs and other urgent medical supplies they need, at fair prices.”

Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC, pledged to provide market intelligence on where the manufacturers are and facilitate pooled procurement when financial resources are made available.

“We commit to providing market intelligence on where the manufacturers are, facilitating pooled procurement when financial resources are made available through this initiative, and distributing these products to respective African destinations,” said Dr. Nkengasong said.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said the whole initiative was important because the increasingly difficult global trade and financing environment would not only limit the potential of African countries to procure essential supplies, but could also limit their ability to scale up their production capacities.

“Our joint initiative with ECA and the African Union, through Africa CDC, is a proactive way to respond to the pandemic more effectively,” he said. “Afreximbank is also engaging its development partners in COVID-19 response efforts to mobilize additional resources and technical assistance.”

ECA is making use of existing platforms, including its AfCFTA-anchored pharmaceutical pilot project, jointly established with the African Union Commission, WHO, and UNAIDS, to improve economically sustainable access to safe medicines through enhanced localized manufacturing, pooled procurement and a continentally harmonized regulatory and quality framework.

“We are engaging private sector stakeholders and governments to adopt policies to urgently bolster the production and supply chain of critical medical and associated resources that Africa needs to respond to COVID19 in a manner that promotes the economic and social development of the continent,” said Ms Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of ECA.

Afreximbank, ECA and African Union Trade Commission will also jointly advocate for the removal of trade tariffs and other restrictions on medical supplies in Africa in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will support countries to adopt policies to strengthen intra-African trade in COVID-19-related equipment and improve quality control and adherence to regulatory standards.

Other key strategic partners include Virgin (Orbit and Galactic) and Invicta (ESG), a first of its kind-alliance producing FDA-approved ventilators and oxygen helmets in South Africa and Janngo.

Remarks by African Union Chair President Cyril Ramaphosa at the online media briefing to launch the Africa Medical Supplies Platform

Your Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission,
AU Special Envoy, Mr Strive Masiyiwa,
Our strategic partners and honoured guests,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’d like to thank you for honouring the invitation to be part of this briefing on important developments in the continental effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic. 

This is a truly global crisis that has left no country untouched. 

It is said that in crisis there is opportunity. 

Driven by the African Union, the countries of the continent have rallied together with both urgency and purpose.

This pandemic has ushered in a new era of intra-African cooperation. 

A continental strategy for COVID-19 has been developed and is being implemented.

A response fund has been established, to which African countries themselves are the primary contributors.

We are harnessing the potential of this increased cooperation to innovate in ways once deemed impractical or impossible.

The continent’s response to this pandemic is testament to Africa’s resilience, to our often undervalued expertise in managing public health emergencies, and, and above all, to our unwavering quest for self-reliance.

Today we unveil the jewel in the crown of pan-African cooperation. 

The Africa Medical Supplies Platform, developed in partnership with Afreximbank, is a ground-breaking innovation.

It is a continental online portal to enable every single African country to access critical medical supplies needed in the fight against the pandemic. 

Through this platform we will address shortages and security of supply, ensure price competitiveness and transparency in procurement, reduce logistical delays, simplify payment processes and provide a common platform where governments can access services from quality and certified suppliers.

Think of it as the Amazon, the Alibaba or even the Ebay of coronavirus resources on the African continent. Made in Africa by Africans. 

The fundamental difference being that on this platform the buyer is not an individual, but governments.

And countries will be able to directly source from manufacturers in both the necessary quantities and at competitive prices.

Once a vaccine is available it too will be added to this portal in line with our stated commitment to ensuring there is equitable access to any form of lifesaving medication.

Resources will be secured by governments on a quota basis determined among other things by vulnerability level.

The benefits of resource pooling in such a manner are innumerable. 

Firstly, the time factor. 

Countries will have ready access to an online marketplace with the click of a button, as opposed to the onerous and time-consuming process of scouring the globe to procure these medical supplies. 

Secondly, competitive pricing. 

Connecting manufacturers and suppliers with governments directly removes the ‘middle man’ in supply chain processes that far too often becomes the doorway into which corrupt practices like price inflation and ‘agent management fees’ enter.

Thirdly, security of supply.

By pooling the needs of the continent, we manage to achieve quantities of scale and present suppliers with a large and assured market. 

Finally, and arguably most importantly, with this platform we are laying another building block towards the African Continental Free Trade Area, whose launch has been delayed by the pandemic.

African manufacturers and suppliers will have a platform for their products and services. 

Manufacturing and industrial activity in African countries will be catalysed as governments seek competitively priced goods and services from nearby markets. 

Made in Africa is our goal. 

This platform is extending a lifeline to African small businesses and large industries that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

Many will now be able to repurpose their operations, as industries in a number of East African countries have done by converting their businesses to produce personal protective equipment.

The entrepreneurship and innovation that has sprung up across the continent in response to the pandemic is remarkable.

There are the scientists in Senegal that developed a COVID-19 rapid test kit that would cost $1 per patient, or the scientists, doctors, engineers and students from an African network of institutions that developed a prototype for a ventilator that can be made using 3D printers

I urge you to go and find out about Solar Wash, a touch-free water dispenser developed by entrepreneurs in Ghana, that is solar powered. 

Or about the DiagnoseMe android application developed in Burkina Faso that enables users to quickly detect coronavirus symptoms. 

But don’t just find out about them, report on them. 

Showcase African excellence and these success stories, because it is important we tell the story of how Africa has managed this pandemic. 

Like all these examples of African ingenuity, the Africa Medical Supplies Platform is a product of African excellence, creativity and collaboration.

The overriding objective of this platform is to provide equitable access for all. 

What we are launching here today is Pan-Africanism at work in the service of the people of this continent. 

We are proud of, and immensely encouraged by, the work that has gone into the development of this ground-breaking platform.

I wish to thank our strategic partners, in particular, the African Union, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Afreximbank.

I wish to thank our Special Envoy Mr Strive Masiyiwa and all the companies, organisations and individuals who are contributing to this life-saving initiative.

With these words, I once again call upon you as our valued partners to tell the world about the many stories of Africa’s response to this pandemic and the many ways in which it is changing our continent for the better.





[/read_more]

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

300,504FansLike
227FollowersFollow
6FollowersFollow
1FollowersFollow
909FollowersFollow
138SubscribersSubscribe

JUST IN

WHO Africa director promises ‘full, fair and transparent investigation’ following shocking sexual abuse allegations during DR Congo Ebola response

The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has reacted to allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in the...

South African leader tells UN summit COVID-19 and environmental degradation are closely linked and must be fought together

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told a virtual UNGA75 summit on biodiversity on Wednesday that his administration was not losing sight...

Amnesty International USA urges Trump to condemn ‘white supremacy and racist violence’ following blunder at chaotic debate

Amnesty International USA on Wednesday urged President Donald Trump to condemn 'white supremacy and racist violence', a day after Mr. Trump...

New York police planned assault on Black Lives Matter protesters in Bronx on June 4, human rights group says in shocking 99-page report

New York City police planned the assault and mass arrests of peaceful protesters in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South...

South Africa’s minister of defense Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in the eye of the storm again, even after ‘salary sacrifice’

President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed that documentation relating to a recent visit to Zimbabwe by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans...

MOST POPULAR

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

IMF has given $31 billion to 76 countries to respond to COVID-19, including over $10 billion to 47 low income nations

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given $31 billion in emergency financing to 76 countries in the world to respond to...

Nigerian activists send open letter to President Buhari urging him to prosecute more than 100 high-profile corruption cases he has ignored

Nigerian activists have sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to prosecute more than 100 high-profile corruption cases...

Nigeria could shut down on Monday as more unions pledge to join strike amid increase in power and petrol prices

Africa's most populous country, Nigeria, could shut down on Monday, as more unions pledge to join a strike action amid an...

Biden wins disastrous, embarrassing, worst presidential debate, as out of control Trump fails to change perceptions and refuses to condemn white supremacists

Joe Biden won the first presidential debate on Tuesday night amid countless interruptions by President Donald Trump who was supposed to...

WHO Africa director promises ‘full, fair and transparent investigation’ following shocking sexual abuse allegations during DR Congo Ebola response

The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, has reacted to allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in the North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by aid workers who identified themselves as working for WHO Ebola response.She wrote: "The allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers, who identified themselves as working...

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Reddit
Share