German pharmaceutical company BioNTech on Thursday started the construction of the first production site in Africa for vaccines based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA).
The plant, in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, will receive its first containers for production of so-called “BioNTainers,” in late 2022, a spokesperson for the company said.
Production of vaccines will begin around 12 to 18 months after they have been installed.
Uğur Şahi, BioNTech chief executive and co-founder said the goal is to pursue together with governments and regulatory authorities to produce vaccines for Africa with highly skilled professionals from Africa.
BioNTech is planning further production sites in Senegal and South Africa.
The company said all vaccines produced in this network are intended for the populations of the nations of the African Union.
The selection of vaccines that will be produced will be tailored to the needs of the member states of the African Union.
BioNTech has estimated that the plant will be able to produce up to 50 million doses a year of its COVID-19 vaccine produced in partnership with Pfizer of the U.S.