The Mastercard Foundation has inked a $45 million deal with West African Health charity Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) that will see the development of vaccine manufacturing infrastructure on the continent.
The project codenamed MADIBA (Manufacturing in Africa for Disease Immunization and Building Autonomy) seeks to develop a world-class workforce to support the idea, which the African Union has for long sought to achieve.
It entails development of a Centre of Training Excellence which targets talented young people, particularly young women, with specialized skills in vaccine research, production, and distribution.
The MADIBA also aligns with Senegal’s “Plan Sénégal Émergent” (Emerging Senegal Plan) to manufacture half of the country’s pharmaceutical products by 2035.
It comes at a time the African Union is mobilizing to fulfill 60 percent of the continent’s vaccine needs by 2040.
In February 2023, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) launched the Regional Capability and Capacity Centre Network (RCCCN), focusing on talent development for manufacturing and research, and selected IPD as its inaugural center.
Presently, less than one percent of vaccines administered on the continent are manufactured locally. This places a great financial burden on the health systems of African countries and reduces their ability to respond to pandemics and other health crises, according to Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of Africa CDC.
The Toronto-based charity indicated that the deal will help to accelerate this program according to an emailed statement.
It includes the development of a specialized training curriculum for the African continent. This aims to train cohorts of talented young Africans, with a goal of enrolling 40 percent, female.
“It will also incorporate key ecosystem actors such as world-top experts, universities, and manufacturers to address the development of the requisite skills required for highly specialized functions, including vaccine production, quality assurance, supply chain, procurement, and clinical trials,” reads the statement in part.
Graduates of the MADIBA training program will help drive the success of other manufacturing facilities, contributing to a multiplier effect and transformation of vaccine manufacturing capabilities.
“This partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and IPD will enhance human capital development for biomanufacturing in Africa. The project is a crucial pillar for vaccine equity and autonomy and a significant driver for high-skilled job creation among young and female Africans,” said Amadou Sall, the CEO of IPD.
The Foundation says the partnership builds on its grand idea of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative.
“That is to keep everyone safe while ensuring Africa’s long-term health security by building vaccine manufacturing expertise and workforce on the continent. In the process, our collaboration will also benefit the livelihoods of young people in Africa.” said Reeta Roy, President, and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation.
The partnership between the IPD and the Mastercard Foundation will accelerate the development of a formally trained workforce in Africa to support vaccine manufacturing projects on the continent.
It also aligns with the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030, the organization says.