African Union chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched the Africa Medical Supplies Platform, a single online marketplace for African countries to procure certified critical medical equipment to fight the coronavirus. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
African Union chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has launched the Africa Medical Supplies Platform, a single online marketplace for African countries to procure certified critical medical equipment to fight the coronavirus. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Ramaphosa launches Africa Medical Supplies Platform to help fight Covid-19

By Chad Anthony Williams Time of article published Jun 19, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - As Africa prepares itself for a peak in coronavirus cases, African Union (AU) chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday launched the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), a single online marketplace for the supply of critical Covid-19-related medical equipment, the presidency said in a statement on Friday.

The AMSP seeks to unlock immediate access to an African and global base of vetted manufacturers and procurement strategic partners. It will enable AU member states to purchase certified medical equipment, such as diagnostic kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) and clinical management devices, with increased cost-effectiveness and transparency. 

According to the presidency, the platform will serve as a unique interface, enabling volume aggregation, quota management, payment facilitation as well as logistics and transportation to ensure equitable and efficient access to critical supplies for African governments.

The online platform was developed under the leadership of AU special envoy Strive Masiyiwa and powered by Janngo on behalf of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and in partnership with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and other leading African and international corporations, institutions and foundations.

Afreximbank will facilitate payments, while logistics partners, including African national carriers and global freight forwarders, will expedite delivery.

According to the presidency, a strong emphasis is also placed on showcasing and funding made-in-Africa manufacturers of medical equipment with relevant certification. 

Masiyiwa said: “The Africa Medical Supply Platform is just one innovation that African countries have developed to help mitigate the devastating impact of this pandemic threatening both the health of our people and our national economies. We are already getting requests from other parts of the world to license the AMSP concept,” he said.

“Africa is leading the way with this online solution to ensure all of our governments get access to PPE and other urgent medical supplies they need, at fair prices.”

Dr John Nkengasong, the director of Africa CDC, said: “We commit to providing market intelligence on where the manufacturers are, facilitating pooled procurement when financial resources are made available through this initiative, and distributing these products to respective African destinations.”

Professor Benedict Oramah, the president of Afreximbank, said the initiative was important because the increasingly difficult global trade and financing environment would not only limit the potential of African countries to procure essential supplies, but could also limit their ability to scale up their production capacities.

“Our joint initiative with ECA and the African Union, through Africa CDC, is a proactive way to respond to the pandemic more effectively,” he said. “Afreximbank is also engaging its development partners in Covid-19 response efforts to mobilise additional resources and technical assistance.”

Vera Songwe, the executive secretary of ECA, said: “We are engaging private sector stakeholders and governments to adopt policies to urgently bolster the production and supply chain of critical medical and associated resources that Africa needs to respond to Covid-19 in a manner that promotes the economic and social development of the continent.”

Afreximbank, ECA and the AU Trade Commission will also jointly advocate for the removal of trade tariffs and other restrictions on medical supplies in Africa. They will support countries to adopt policies to strengthen intra-African trade in Covid-19-related equipment and improve quality control and adherence to regulatory standards, said the statement.

Other key strategic partners include Virgin (Orbit and Galactic) and Invicta (ESG), a first-of-its-kind alliance producing FDA-approved ventilators and oxygen helmets in South Africa. Janngo, leveraging its venture-building capabilities, technology expertise and cross-border marketplace record, will build and launch the platform. 

African News Agency

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