EU boosting its partnership with WHO to increase local manufacture in Africa

World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa patners with EU

The Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO) are strengthening their partnership to improve equitable access to safe, effective, and high-quality vaccines, medicines, and health technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This was revealed yesterday by Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. 

WHO Press release

Commissioner Urpilainen said: “The European Union and WHO share a common ambition to boost local production capacity and access to quality, safe, effective and –importantly – affordable medicines and vaccines”.  

“Under the Team Europe initiative for local manufacturing in Africa, today with Dr. Tedros we agreed on stepping up support to our African partners in tackling some of the main barriers to access and availability, with concrete projects financed with at least €24.5 million from the EU budget”.  

He continued “Together, we are strengthening the foundations of resilient health systems, universal health coverage and health security for now and in the future.”   

The EU–WHO collaboration will help the African Union meet its goal of expanding local vaccine manufacturing in and for Africa. It will also help the African Union accomplish its goals in areas such as jobs and growth, commerce, and scientific collaboration. 

The EU’s €24.5 million investment supports three major categories of action: regulatory tightening (€11.5 million), technology transfer (€12 million), and demand consolidation and strategic purchasing (€1 million). 

The EU also strengthens its collaboration with the OHCHR to advance human rights.  

On the occasion of her visit to Geneva, Commissioner Urpilainen also announced €14.4 million in funding for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights over three years (2022–2024). (OHCHR). 

These funds will support the Office Management Plan of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and are part of the EU’s commitment to rules-based multilateralism. 

The EU’s goals for human rights protection and promotion are outlined in the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020–2024, which has been incorporated into the new Human Rights and Democracy Programme under Global Europe. 

Human rights are central to the EU’s foreign policy, and the OHCHR is a crucial actor and privileged partner in the Union’s efforts to build rules-based multilateralism.  


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