ZIMBABWE – The government of Zimbabwe has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with one of Dubai’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Intrapharm Group, that could result in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -based pharmaceutical company setting up a manufacturing facility and distribution base in Zimbabwe.
Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, signed the letter of intent on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe while the Chairman of the Intrapharm Group, engineer Ahmad Yousef Ibrahim, signed on behalf of the marketing and sales company for pharmaceutical products in Dubai.
Minister Ncube said the agreement with Intrapharm will strengthen Zimbabwe’s position as a regional hub in the supply of pharmaceutical products.
“We are delighted to be partnering and working with the Intrapharm Group here in the United Arab Emirates,” said Minister Ncube, adding that the pharmaceutical sector in Zimbabwe needs a boost.
“I think the emergence of Covid-19 and other challenges have made it clearer to us that we need to crank it up,” said the minister.
The CFO said the pharmaceutical situation in Zimbabwe is why the government launched the Pharmaceutical and Health Sector Development Strategies, both of which aim to address the need for growth in this critical subsector.
The negative impact on global supply chains for medical supplies of the coronavirus, which caused national governments around the world to shut down economies and restrict movement to contain the disease, made it clear that Zimbabwe needs to localize the production of pharmaceuticals.
Zimbabwe imports nearly 90 percent of its medicines and other pharmaceutical products, spending hundreds of millions of scarce foreign currencies in the process.
Minister Ncube said that once the agreement with Intrapharm goes into effect, Zimbabwe will be able to export a number of surplus drugs to regional countries such as Botswana, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, putting Zimbabwe in a strong manufacturing and position would put the distribution of drugs in the area.
“This will boost Zimbabwe and its economy and strengthen the country’s health system,” he said.
Minister Ncube said the government would pursue the MoU with further agreements in a number of specific areas, stressing that investments in both the manufacture and distribution of medicines and pharmaceutical products would be significant over the next few years.
“In terms of the timetable, we expect the UAE delegation to be in Zimbabwe for the next two months to further investigate the areas in which we wish to invest,” said Minister Ncube.
However, the contracting parties would still have to decide on the location for the production of pharmaceuticals in Zimbabwe.
Mr Ibrahim said the agreement was in two parts, production and distribution, and expressed the hope that the scope of the MoU would grow in accordance with the requirements of the planned strategy in cooperation with the government.
“Zimbabwe has many resources, this is good for business people to watch, and we thank His Excellency the Vice President for giving us the opportunity to examine some of these opportunities. So, we will definitely benefit from this as the cooperation between the two governments is very strong,” said the chairman of the Intrapharm group.
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