“This project will allow us to produce the Covid vaccine, as well as other key vaccines, in our own country so that the kingdom can become self-sufficient and a leading biotechnology platform on the continent and in the world, within the fill and finish industry,” said the royal cabinet’s statement, which was released on the evening of 6 July.
It also aims to “provide the kingdom with complete and integrated industrial and biotechnological capacities, which will be dedicated to manufacturing vaccines in Morocco.” The document states that it is a question of reinforcing the country’s “health sovereignty” in the face of “external dependencies and political contingencies”.
The article continues below
Get your free PDF: Top 200 banks 2019
The race to transform
Complete the form and download, for free, the highlights from The Africa Report’s Exclusive Ranking of Africa’s top 200 banks from last year. Get your free PDF by completing the following form
During this ceremony – which was attended by, among others, prime minister Saaddedine El Othmani, royal adviser Fouad Ali El Himma, foreign affairs minister Nasser Bourita, Attijariwafa Bank’s CEO Mohamed Kettani and Banque Populaire’s CEO Mohamed Karim Mounir – several memorandums were signed. The first one was a cooperation agreement between the kingdom and the Chinese pharmaceutical group Sinopharm.
This public-private partnership began after a telephone conversation on 31 August between King Mohammed VI and China’s President Xi Jinping. Morocco will soon start production – no date has yet been specified – of 5m doses of Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine per month. It is expected that this capacity will gradually increase in the medium term.
Collaboration with Sothema
The overall investment will represent $500m, according to an agreement signed on 5 July by Mohamed Benchaâboune, the economic and finance minister, Recipharm’s CEO Marc Funk and billionaire Othman Benjelloun, the representative from the consortium of Moroccan banks. The aim of the project is to establish vaccine manufacturing capacities in Morocco under the best possible conditions and develop, what appears to be, a Chinese-Moroccan pharmaceutical industry giant.
Finally, a contract that allows the Moroccan pharmaceutical laboratory Sothema’s filling facilities to be used to produce Covid-19 vaccines owned by the Chinese company Sinopharm was signed by Lamia Tazi, its CEO, and Khalid Ait Taleb, the health minister. The company participated in Sinopharm’s Phase III clinical trials in Morocco.
Since the start of its vaccination campaign at the end of January, Morocco, which has a population of 36 million, has vaccinated more than 10 million people, 9.1 million of whom have already received the required two injections.
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.View subscription options