MD WELCOME REMARKS – 12 April, 2022

CalBank Leadership Series on the Theme AfCFTA and the post Covid era; the growth of the Pharmaceutical Sector in Ghana

Hon. Michael Okyere Baafi (MP), Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry; Mr. Prudence Sebahizi, Chief Technical Advisor AfCFTA Secretariat; Dr. Fareed Arthur, Chairman of the National AfCFTA Coordination office; Pharm. Harrison Abutiate, Chairman of GNCoP; Mr. Bright Simons, Vice President, IMANI Africa; Mr. Uday Bhaskar, Director General Pharm Export Promotion Council of India; distinguished ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Let me kindly take this opportunity to welcome all of you, those here in person and those who have joined virtually, to the CalBank Leadership Conversation series. This is our 11th edition and with every conversation held, the insights gleaned have always been worth the discussion. We are pleased that you have all joined us, especially our strategic partners; the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy, our distinguished panel of speakers and all dignitaries for taking time to be with us this morning for this important topical discussion.

Today’s conversation themed AfCFTA and the Post Covid Era; the growth of the Pharmaceutical Sector in Ghana is one of many conversations and initiatives lined up by the Bank to present market opportunities to our stakeholders. It is important for us as a Bank to continuously engage our various clients and partners as we seek to grow Forward Together.  One of our key corporate social investment pillars and a key SDG is health, which we believe together we must support in the building of our health infrastructure and delivery as a nation and a continent.

AfCFTA provides a wider market access across Africa for the pharmaceutical industry and promotes inter-regional trade for mutual economic benefits whilst supporting investments locally. It also brings about synergies with industrial learning across borders and will benefit the industry through economies of scale by virtue of new markets available to the pharmaceutical companies.

The lessons from Covid has taught us the bitter truth of investing in our health industry with special emphasis on the pharmaceutical sector. There is the urgent need for us to continuously invest in the development of critical drugs and improve the logistics necessary to support the growth. The most important aspect of the conversation is how to situate the opportunities offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area to the Pharmaceutical Industry.

As stated by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of AfDB Bank Group, during the thirty-fifth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa on 5th February 2022 “it is time to build Africa’s healthcare defense system which must be based on three strategic priorities. First, building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure, second, building Africa’s pharmaceutical industry and third, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity. Africa needs $600 million to $1.3 billion to meet its goal of attaining 60% vaccine production by 2040.

Investing in health is investing in national security and the African Development Bank plans to invest $3 billion to support pharmaceutical and vaccines manufacturing capacity for Africa”.

This obviously is a significant opportunity to the Ghanaian pharmaceutical industry and institutions as CalBank are poised to support this.

The subject matter of today’s conversation is very appropriate, because the pharmaceutical industry presents an interesting case, given the importance it plays in keeping all of us healthy. Africa finds itself in a perilous position as it imports between 70% to 90% of the drugs it consumes. According to a 2019 report by McKinsey, local manufacturers produce 25% – 30% of pharmaceutical products required for the African market and less than 10% of medical supplies.

It is expected that AfCFTA can facilitate the creation of an environment conducive for rapidly accelerating the establishment of regional pharmaceutical establishments which can be leveraged as a springboard for nurturing African multinationals and creating jobs and prosperity.

Currently the Bank has a Pharma Scheme which provides credit at concessionary rates to pharmaceutical companies to assist in their capacity building, through interventions and programs such as these we seek to improve and expand in this offering to support the local pharmaceutical industry.

With forums like this one, we seek to strengthen the relationship between the Bank and the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy; increase the number of pharmaceutical companies accessing the Bank’s Pharma Scheme and partner selected number of local pharmaceutical companies on the AfCFTA program to grow into regional markets.

The Bank is also investing in building the capacity of pharmaceutical companies within our client database and more with conversations like these on the various topical issues to be discussed and deliberated on by our distinguished speakers and panelists.

I indulge you to join me as we attentively listen and engage our panelists to explore the opportunities available for the growth of the pharmaceutical sector in Ghana and learn from their expertise.

Finally, let me encourage all stakeholders in the sector to engage my team so together we can grow our respective businesses.

Enjoy the session.

Thank you.

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