EU invests €40m in Rwanda’s vaccine and medicine production

On 19 December 2023 at 10:58

President Paul Kagame and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, 18 December 2023, met to discuss how to take the EU-Rwanda partnership forward, including with mutually beneficial investments under the EU Global Gateway strategy.

The European Union and its Member States in a Team Europe approach are investing more than €900 million in Rwanda under Global Gateway, Europe’s investment programme for the world. The Presidents discussed investments in areas including health, critical raw materials, the agro-food industry, climate resilience and education.

President von der Leyen announced an additional €40 million Global Gateway investment in the development of a vibrant biopharmaceutical industry and local manufacturing of vaccines, medicines and health products in Rwanda, which was welcomed by President Kagame.

The funds will benefit particularly higher, technical and vocational education and training, research and development, entrepreneurship, and supply chains.

With the investment announced on Monday, Team Europe’s support to local manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Rwanda amounts to approximately €94 million.

The leaders also witnessed the signature of the Joint Declaration on Critical Raw Materials Value Chains between the Government of Rwanda and the European Investment Bank. The declaration builds on the robust working relationship between the EU and Rwanda in the mining sector and paves the way for an even more significant and comprehensive strategic partnership in the field of critical raw materials under the Global Gateway strategy.

Commenting on the development, President Kagame said: “As a continent, we still rely heavily on imports for vaccines and medicines. We want to change this, and the long-term solution is to strengthen our manufacturing and scientific capacity. Again, the European Union has been very active in this, trying to support us in this development.

Earlier today, the President and I attended the inauguration of BioNTech’s vaccine manufacturing site. The European Union, and President von der Leyen personally, helped to make this a reality.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “On the global scene, the EU and Rwanda see eye-to-eye on many matters and we warmly welcome Rwanda’s climate leadership.

Rwanda is also a key partner for Europe under Global Gateway, which is investing 150 billion euros in Africa. Global Gateway, Europe’s investment strategy for the world, comes with the highest environmental and social standards, and with transparency.

We share technology and knowledge, and we train the local workforce. We bring the support of the entire Team Europe, from public and financing institutions, and private sector investment. All this helps to create good, local jobs for Rwandans.”

Approximately €380 million of Global Gateway investments by Team Europe support the development of the agro-food industry.

Team Europe also invests almost €320 million in sustainable, climate-proof cities, including in urban mobility, and an estimated €100 million in inclusive pre-primary education in Rwanda.

The Government of Rwanda confirmed its interest to commence negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU and agreed to launch a process to scope the negotiations.

President Kagame and President von der Leyen welcomed Rwanda signing the Samoa Agreement in Brussels just before their bilateral meeting. The Samoa Agreement will form the foundation of the partnership between the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for the next 20 years.