Amref Health Africa
Amref Criticizes Decision to Launch African Vaccine Initiative in Paris

Amref Health Africa Criticizes Decision to Launch African Vaccine Initiative in Paris

The decision to launch the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA) and Gavi’s Investment Opportunity in Paris has been criticized by Amref Health Africa’s Group CEO, Githinji Gitahi. Gitahi argued that hosting the inauguration on African soil would have been a powerful symbol of the continent’s ownership and leadership in the initiative.

While acknowledging France’s co-hosting as well-intentioned, Gitahi believes that holding the launch in Paris represents a missed opportunity to localize the initiative within Africa. He emphasized the importance of community engagement and localization, stating that hosting the launch in Africa would facilitate greater local engagement, promote localization, and showcase Africa’s capabilities in vaccine manufacturing.

Gitahi highlighted the progress made in Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities, citing examples such as South Africa’s Biovac Institute, the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, and Egypt’s Viscera. He emphasized that an African venue for the launch would provide an ideal platform to showcase these existing hubs and potential local manufacturing capacities, building confidence among international partners and investors.

Gitahi acknowledged that logistical and diplomatic considerations may have driven the decision to launch the AVMA in Paris, but stressed that it misses a crucial opportunity to strengthen localization and reinforce Africa’s ownership of the initiative. He urged for a shift in mindset to prioritize localization and community engagement, surrendering power to serve the communities better.