An Africa medical supplies portal, a single continental marketplace which allows countries to access critical medical supplies, will ensure that the continent is not at the back of the queue for critical life-saving supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Business Day report. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who launched the online portal in his capacity as AU chair on Thursday, said the platform will help African states to address shortages and security of supply.
It will also ensure price competitiveness and transparency in procurement, reduce logistical delays, simplify payment processes and provide a common platform where governments can access services from certified suppliers.
Through the portal African countries will be able to directly source supplies from manufacturers in the necessary quantities and at competitive prices. The portal will sell COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.
AU commission chair Moussa Faki said priority would be given to African suppliers, but there were not enough on the continent, which had lead to countries buying from China. He said connecting manufacturers and suppliers with governments directly removed the “middle man” in supply chain processes that too often became the doorway to corrupt practices such as inflated prices and large agent management fees.
“By pooling the needs of the continent, we manage to achieve quantities of scale and present suppliers with a large and assured market.”
The report says African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will facilitate payments while logistics partners, such as South Africa’s ailing state-owned airline SAA, will expedite delivery.
AU special envoy Strive Masiyiwa said it was a simple platform which had critical items that governments had sought.
The Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) is now officially live as part of a continent-wide effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Polity reports that among the suppliers already listed, Masiyiwa highlighted JSE-listed hardware company Invicta Holdings and Engineering Solutions Group Medical Equipment, one of the manufacturers which has agreed to sell medical equipment through the AMSP.
Invicta also took up the challenge to produce 10 000 ventilators for Africa. Invicta Holdings director and ESG Group CEO Gavin Pelser shared that “Invicta Holdings chair Dr Christo Wiese, has personally committed to various initiatives with the objective of minimising the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential devastating outcome on the people of Africa.”
Full Business Day report
Full Polity report