To support stronger healthcare delivery and outcomes in West Africa, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co Ltd announced its partnership with the International Finance Corp (IFC) on Tuesday to help build a pharmaceutical production facility and distribution hub in the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire.
Under the partnership, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focusing on the private sector of emerging markets, will provide subsidiaries of Fosun Pharma with loans totaling 50 million euros ($53.58 million) to support the construction of a manufacturing site near Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, that will produce anti-malaria drugs and antibacterial medicines.
The project, which was launched in November 2022, will take place in three phases and is expected to have a capacity of 5 billion medicine tablets annually after the completion of phase three.
The project will improve access to quality, affordable life-saving medicines across West Africa, contributing to better health outcomes in a region that contends with heavy loads of infectious and other diseases, Fosun Pharma said.
The project will also facilitate the transfer of medical and manufacturing knowledge to Africa, supporting the long-term growth and strength of the wider region's health sector, according to the company.
The World Health Organization data show that sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than 95 percent of global malaria cases and deaths. Children under five years old accounted for about 80 percent of all malaria deaths in the region. The region is also facing the task of mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 while addressing other public health challenges.
"We're glad to be supported by IFC to localize pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution in Africa," said Wu Yifang, chairman of Fosun Pharma.
Since 2006, IFC has repeatedly provided financial and advisory support to Fosun Pharma, which is committed to ensuring the accessibility and affordability of pharmaceutical products and improving the healthcare supply chain resilience in the region, he said.
"Strengthening Africa's healthcare infrastructure and capabilities is absolutely essential for the continent's future social and economic development, especially in the wake of COVID-19," said Sergio Pimenta, IFC vice-president for Africa.
"IFC's partnership with Fosun will increase Africa's ability to manufacture essential drugs locally, helping patients more easily access high-quality, affordable medicines," he said.
As the first Chinese drug brand widely recognized in Africa, Artesun (Artesunate for Injection), independently developed and manufactured by Fosun Pharma, has treated over 56 million patients with severe malaria worldwide. It has become an example of innovative medicinal products developed in China that serve the world.