Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa partner with Guyana to enhance pharmaceutical equity for global public health with the EU and WHO.
At the sidelines of COP27 earlier today, Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced a transatlantic bridge between the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa to develop and manufacture pharmaceuticals for global public health.
President Irfaan Ali was part of the high-level meeting, which also included the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
President Irfaan Ali of Guyana said, “I am honoured to be a part of this ground-breaking initiative that is a testimony to true South-South cooperation. From the outset, I congratulate my Colleague Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, for stewarding this cause and to His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, for his role in advancing this partnership that would provide the opportunity for the people of Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean to have access to pharmaceuticals developed within their own regions.”
The key recommendation emanating from the meeting is an inter-governmental South-South cooperation initiative aiming at the development and manufacturing of 60% of all essential, contemporary pharmaceuticals for the populations of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa within their respective regions by 2040.
It intends to focus on next-generation oncological drugs, preventive and therapeutic vaccines, as well as modalities for women’s health.
It is also stipulated that all manufacturing sites related to this endeavour will be in full compliance with the relevant stipulations of the COP21 Paris Agreement. Other countries are encouraged to join this newly launched initiative.
“Today is a truly historic moment as with a great sense of urgency and understanding, South-South Cooperation rose to the fore to address matters of global public health,” Prime Minister Mottley said, “I want to dearly thank President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President Paul Kagame and President von der Leyen for recognising the importance of this venture and congratulate all stakeholders who have been instrumental in developing this pharmaceutical transatlantic bridge.”
President von der Leyen of the European Commission added, “Health is a top priority for citizens, wherever they live. The EU is committed to supporting our African and Latin American, and Caribbean partners in boosting their own capacity to produce vaccines, medicines, and health technologies. This will increase the resilience of their health systems and contribute to economic growth.”
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda concluded: “The progress we have made toward pharmaceutical equity in Africa is a result of partnership both within our continent and beyond. We would like to see more of this kind of practical cooperation between the Caribbean and Africa.”
“One of the most important lessons of the pandemic is that manufacturing capacity for medicines, diagnostics, vaccines, and other tools is concentrated in too few countries,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
The ceremony was witnessed by Acting Director Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma of Africa CDC, President Dr Werner Hoyer of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and kENUP Foundation Chairman Holm Keller.