The development was announced on 26th October 2021 under a broad plan to facilitate access to vaccines in Africa.
The project is expected to reduce Africa’s dependence on foreign countries where the continent has the capacity to produce only 1% of needed vaccines.
The African Union (AU) seeks to capacitate the continent to produce at least 60% of needed vaccines by 2040.
The facility to sit on 30,000 square meters, will be based on BioNTainer modular system. It will have two BioNTainers used for manufacturing of vaccines and drugs.
The project’s managers indicate that preparations to begin operations are underway where the Human Resource Manager has been already recruited.
It will be closely monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO), African Medicines Agency (AMA), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (Rwanda-FDA) among others.
As the project was announced, it was revealed that BioNTech facility in Rwanda will provide job opportunities to 100 until 2024.
The local plant will be collaborating with employees from Germany to train new workers recruited to manufacture vaccines or oversee their standards in Rwanda.
IGIHE has learnt that the recruitment of local employees will be done in three phases.
The first comprises 24 managerial positions to recruit people who will oversee the plant’s activities.
The first phase took heed of human resources management, technology, security and construction.
The next phase is expected to draw emphasis on the recruitment of workers in the laboratory and others to facilitate the plant’s daily operations.
Sources reveal that BioNTech has so far received over 2000 applications from individuals interested to work at the facility based in Kigali in the first phase.
It is said that 90% of these applications are from Rwandans. Six staff members have been hired out of the 24 positions while interview tests are being conducted for more 30 positions.
All basic equipment will be shipped to Rwanda from BioNTech.
BioNTech says that the two BioNTainers to be set up in Rwanda will be comprised of 12 containers 12, each with the size of (2.6m x 2.4m x 12m).
It is expected that 50 million COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines will be manufactured in Kigali every year, once the new facility is successfully set up.
The production capacity might increase proportionally to the number of new containers installed.
The first BioNTainer module is expected to arrive in Africa towards the end of 2022 while the production of vaccines is set to begin in 12 months after their shipment to countries that will host such facilities.
Vaccines manufactured under this program will only be reserved for locals and other African countries.