Africa RISE report launched on prospects for pharma and biotech in Maurtius
On the 20 October 2023, the Mauritius Institute of Biotechnoloy Ltd had the pleasure to launch the EU Report on Biopharma Industry Development in Mauritius with the presence of the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius and the Deputy Director General, DG- INTPA from the European Commission as well as the President of the Republic of Mauritius.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mauritian government expressed its plan to boost the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to make it an economic pillar of the country. This initiative marks the start of a partnership for the export promotion of priority pharmaceutical products and services, both locally and globally, while creating highly paid jobs for skilled Mauritian professionals.
Role of EU-Africa RISE
EU Africa RISE has conducted an in-depth and comprehensive feasibility study for the establishment and focused strategic positioning of Mauritius as a regional pharmaceutical and biotechnology hub. This report was prepared in response to a request from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Mauritius Institute of Biotechnology with the support of the EU Delegation of Mauritius. The ambition was to make this sector a key pillar of the economy and there is enormous benefits to exploit the potential of Mauritius. The team of experts selected by Africa RISE has coordinated and supported a market analysis, a legislative review and a skills gap analysis in line with that objective.
From the outset, the report analyses the Mauritian BioPharma Ecosystem and its Key Proposals. It namely highlights the impactful role of Centers of Excellence. A combination of critical factors of success is further outlined: regulatory, strategic projects, investment, partnerships, human capital, infrastructure and speed. Thereafter the report focuses in depth on the building blocks of a pharmaceutical and biotechnology hub. It develops main aspects such as the regulatory framework, the skills needed and the different fields of research and manufacturing of services and products. Emphasis is laid, in parallel to the strategic market positioning of Mauritius, which is a member of the African Union and various African trading blocs such as the SADC and COMESA. Lastly, the third part of the study emphasises on the Institutional and Governance framework. The pivotal roles of the Mauritius Life Science Authority (MLSA) and of the Mauritius Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) are highlighted as well as the necessity for regular appraisal of performance, for example through Hard KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). The report by the team of experts concludes favourably on the development of a Biopharma hub in Mauritius. The feasibility and framework study uncovers concrete strategic opportunities for research, development and investment and actionable levers for efficient and profitable trade.
During the event, the Mauritius Institute of Biotechnology Ltd launched the report at the ceremony presided over by His Excellency Mr Oskar Benedikt, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius; Mr. Martin Seychell, Deputy Director-General, DG INTPA, European Commission; and His Excellency, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, G.C.S.K, President of the Republic of Mauritius; on the morning of Friday, 20 October 2023.
During his welcoming speech, the Director-General, mentioned that the report identifies a number of specific sectors that would fit well into the reality of Mauritius, given technology levels and the size of the island economy. “Also, as a gateway, Mauritius plays a very powerful role. A lot of technologies are finding it difficult to enter Africa, so we need gateways to help shape, modify and channel those technologies to make them suitable to the environment so they can play a role in the continent. That is a very powerful role to play and that is why we believe Mauritius has great potential. That is why we are interested as the EU to continue and intensify this dialogue and help the authorities here implement that vision. The continent does need a good gateway and a research angle, and this comes in very strongly in this report. This is the heart of the gateway – to ensure that technologies that are being developed should be suitable to be deployed and can be quickly utilised for the benefit of the population because they are designed the right way. The linkages with other countries are also important. The EU stands ready to work with like-minded countries around the world on the global issues that global health is an integral part of. The report also recommends key action plans around the regulatory frameworks that Mauritius wishes to operationalise from the report.”
Ricardo Godinez, the lead European Union consultant for the Biopharma Industry Development report for Mauritius, shared his insights on the potential of the pharmaceutical industry to become a key economic pillar for the country: “There’s a potential that the pharmaceutical industry could become a pillar of the economy of the country. There is indeed a lot of potential, and everything starts with a vision about where one wants to get. Mauritius has been successful in the agricultural, IT and financial sector, and there’s a great opportunity right now after the COVID and all the needs that the COVID exemplifies in terms of a local manufacturing of drugs. All these opportunities are somehow creating the need, in Mauritius, to move forward in developing the industry, and I think this is a great opportunity,” Dr Godinez stated. According to Dr. Godinez, Mauritius should utilize its national and diasporic resources to enhance the innovation sector in the country. This strategy could lead to the creation of high-value industries and jobs, significantly impacting the overall economy. Dr. Godinez also stressed the importance to Mauritius of developing a regional market. To achieve this, the country needs to compete, collaborate, and complement the product and service offerings of selected African regional partners that share mutual interests with it.
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