Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
Between Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe

CAAST-Net Plus, EDCTP Engage Private Sector Actors

CAAST-Net Plus, EDCTP Engage Private Sector Actors

CAAST-Net Plus, EDCTP Engage Private Sector Actors

CAAST-Net Plus and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) hosted a panel discussion to promote greater involvement of private sector actors in EU-Africa health research cooperation. [Image credit: Flickr, Nuevo Anden]

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The discussion took place on 2 July during the Seventh EDCTP Forum, which was held in Berlin.

Representatives from EDCTP, CAAST-Net Plus, pharmaceutical companies, regional health networks in Africa, SMEs and academic institutions were included on the panel.

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Opportunities and Challenges

Mmboneni Muofhe (Deputy Director-General International Cooperation and Resources) of South Africa's Department of Science and Technology, who co-chaired the session, said the purpose of the discussion for CAAST-Net Plus was to strengthen public-private partnerships. The issues to be discussed “did not fall out of the sky,” he said, but represented areas of common interest involving all the role players present for the discussion.

Ole Olesen (North-North Director of Cooperation) of EDCTP and the other co-chair, said the impetus for the session was to find ways to entice the private sector to get involved in clinical trials in Africa and to create an enabling environment trials to take place. “The problem is that this enabling environment is not working very well in many parts of Africa,” Oleson said.

François Bompart of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations said a lack of skilled human resources and reliable data are problems hampering health research on the African continent. “You can develop very nice drugs but if the health systems are not there to make sure that they are available to patients then you don't have a market,” Bompart said.

Lluis Ballell-Pages of pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, said that for private companies to invest scarce resources in this area, a true partnership opportunity must exist. According to Ballell-Pages, incentives for GSK to get involved have thus far been limited.

John Mugabe of the University of Pretoria (and formerly the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)) said that a “culture of regionalism” in Africa is problematic when it comes to health research. “It is difficult to get countries to collaborate on common problems. It is easier to get Brazil and China involved than countries in the region to work together,” said Mugabe.

Other panellists included Claudia Schacht of Fit for Health 2.0, West African Health Organisation's Jude Aidam, Gift Mphefu of South African pharmaceutical SME, Med-TechEngineers, Philippe Leissner of bioMerieux, and Jennifer Dent from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Learn More

The minutes from the discussion are available on request from Katharina Kuss katharina.kuss[at]

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This content was produced by *Research Africa for CAAST-Net Plus. To report an error, write to To learn more about us, go to ​

Disclaimer: CAAST-Net Plus is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n0 311806. This document reflects only the authors’ views and the European Union cannot be held liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

CAAST-Net Plus is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement 311806
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