The first batch comprised of six ‘BionTainers’ arrived at Kigali International Airport where they were received by government officials and diplomats accredited to Rwanda from Germany, France and the European Union.
The facility being set up in Rwanda will bank on mRNA technology to manufacture vaccines for COVID-19, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
In a message posted on his Twitter handle, President Kagame expressed delight for the progress made to manufacture vaccines locally.
“Historic milestone today as the first BioNTech Group BioNTainers arrived in Rwanda, exactly 3 years since the first case of Covid-19 was detected in our country. This system will allow end-to-end mRNA vaccine production in Africa for the first time,” he tweeted.
The Head of State thanked the team from Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech), particularly Uğur Şahin, Özlem Türeci, Sierk Pötting and other partners for their support that led to this milestone possible.
On Monday evening, Kagame received BioNTech Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Sierk Pötting; Dr. Thomas Gersdorf, BioNTech Chief of Staff and the Chairman of Kenup Foundation, Holm Keller.
The vaccine manufacturing facility is expected to begin operations towards the end of 2023.
Construction activities are overseen by BioNTech, a next generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases.
It is mostly renowned for the production of COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with Pfizer.
Rwanda is the first African country to host such facility using mRNA technology.
Upon arrival of the shipment, Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana said that reaching the milestone is a fruit of good leadership and developed partnership between Rwanda and other countries.
He explained that the project is relevant for the country to bring solutions expected to tackle emerging diseases.