Between 7th and 9th February 2023 30 partner organisations came together to participate in the first Biomanufacturing Workforce Development workshop. Hosted by Africa CDC, Insitut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD), and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) the workshop is intended to assess the “landscape of biomanufacturing training, gaps, and opportunities” in Africa.  

Goals for 2040 

As we have previously noted, Africa currently produces only 0.1% of vaccines, relying heavily on externally developed and produced products. Thus, the Africa CDC has set the “ambitious goal” of manufacturing 60% of vaccine doses for the continent by 2040. 

To get to this point, Africa CDC highlights the need for “significant investments” to “develop a skilled workforce for deployment in the research, development, and manufacturing industry”. Furthermore, Africa CDC suggests that the vaccine manufacturing industry will require 6000-7000 skilled jobs to be created in Africa by 2030.  

Joining forces 

Achieving the ambitious goals will require concerted collaborative efforts, and Africa CDC, IPD, and SAMRC are “joining forces” to “fully understand the capacity building needs and ambitions in Africa”.  

The workshop is expected to be “very practical”, resulting in “concrete roadmaps” for biomanufacturing development. It will also “address how to create a favourable ecosystem for sustainable financing of training programmes in Africa and the best model of partnerships and governance to achieve the continental ambition”.  

The event also launches the IPD biomanufacturing human capital development initiative: Knowledge & Workforce for Africa’s Manufacturing Equity (KWAME). This is “intrinsically linked” to the MADIBA project based in Senegal.  

Preparing for the future 

Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director of Africa CDC, views the workshop as “critical”.  

“The need to understand the roles of all the stakeholders is cardinal for optimal resource utilisation and effective coordination as outlined in the continental Framework for Action for vaccine manufacturing.”  

For Dr Amadou Alpha Sall, CEO of IPD, the importance of “robust partnerships” cannot be understated. He is “delighted” that so many partners have “committed to contributing” to the workshop.  

“Today, more than 60% of Africa’s population is under 25 and young Africans are expected to constitute 42% of global youth by 2030. The young men and women are very valuable assets for the continent, and we have a great opportunity to develop this human capital today to build a successful new industry in Africa relying on its own talents tomorrow.”  

He suggests that a key objective of KWAME is to “accelerate the development” of an African-trained workforce through “collaborations with African countries and manufacturers”. This is of “great importance” to Professor Richard Gordon, Director of International Business Development for SAMRC.  

“We simply cannot seek to manufacture biopharmaceuticals without developing a skilled workforce for the future.”  

We look forward to hearing more positive developments as a result of these partnerships and observing vaccine development growth in Africa in the future. To discuss global vaccine manufacturing in greater detail at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington, get your tickets today.