(Geneve) The Government of Japan has announced it will provide funding for an ITC initiative that will boost the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.
The Vaccine Investments and Trade Ecosystems in Africa (VITEA) project will strengthen the value chains of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies. As a pilot project, it will focus on Nigeria.
It will engage a whole range of Nigerian stakeholders from vaccine and related supplies manufacturers to research and development enterprises and business support organizations. This will strengthen the entire ecosystem of COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine component production and distribution.
Beyond the immediate objective of improving the competitiveness of vaccine and related industries in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the project will contribute in the long term to supporting the country’s economic recovery efforts by building a diversified industrial base in the aftermath of the pandemic, promoting human security through improved access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
ITC’s Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: “ITC wants to address vaccine inequality. Through this new project, we will improve the way African supply chains work in the pharmaceuticals sector. It will build the business ecosystem in Nigeria and support African research and development. I’d like to thank Japan for working with ITC as a strategic partner to tackle this challenge.”
Aside from VITEA, ITC’s SheTrades initiative is also receiving additional funding from the Government of Japan. The funds will be used to improve the professional skills and competencies of women entrepreneurs and to create further business linkages for them.
The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.