By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame’s supporters for building a Covid19 vaccine manufacturing plant have increased to four. But only US$3.5 million has been raised. Kagame has a long way to go – building a vaccine factory is not cheap. For example, South Africa’s vaccine plant cost €600 million or US$706 million.
Belgian development agency, Enabel, is the latest entity to announce its support for General Paul Kagame’s grand plan to build a Covid19 vaccine manufacturing plant. The Resident Representative of Enabel in Rwandaannounced that “Enabel is delighted to be contributing to this noble cause of ensuring that the much-needed vaccines and drugs are accessible in Africa.” No details of the financial support were given. The other supporters of Kagame’s vaccine plant are the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the kENUP Foundation and the European Union (EU). Only the EU has contributed money to the amount of RWF3.6 billion or US$3.5 million. On receiving US$3.5 million, the Kagame governmentannounced that the money would accelerate Rwanda’s drive to build a vaccine plant:
“This agreement boosts Rwanda’s efforts to build a vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturing ecosystem to contribute to health security of our region and our continent.”
Will Kagame’s a Covid19 vaccine manufacturing plant ever materialize? The US$3.5 million raised so far is a drop in the ocean. Building Aspen Pharmacare Holdings’ vaccine manufacturing plant in South Africa cost €600 million or US$706 million. Stay tuned.