Africa RISE's first stakeholders engagement workshop of the Botswana pharmaceutical ecosystem

The Africa rise consultants (From the left to the right): Matshidiso Matome, Dr Marisol Correa Ascencio, Dr Ricardo Godinez (the team leader) and Dr Joyce Kgatlwane



Botswana’s interest in local production of pharmaceutical products increased after the pandemic due to the "low access to essential medicines". At the US Africa leaders summit held in Washington DC, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi reiterated Botswana’s determination to attain health system resilience and security through development of national capacity for pharmaceutical production. In order to assess the local production challenges, validate the risks and opportunities for European investment and find the "way forward" for Botswana'’ pharmaceutical industry, Africa Rise consultants went on a field trip to Gaborone, to visit and held a stakeholder workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to collaborate with Botswana Investment and Trade Center  (BITC) and bring together stakeholders to identify their challenges and opportunities for the development of the  pharmaceutical industry, while creating a conducive context for attracting European investment and output through local manufacturing.


Challenges that Botswana has with growing the pharmaceutical sector

The main challenges experienced by Botswana are a small population and market size, which is common in many African countries, medicine shortages that result from depending on imports availability and an emerging but driven pharmaceutical and financial ecosystem.  Regardless, the country can leverage on having a young educated population, forward thinking education and innovation institutions and parastatal companies such as the vaccine manufacturing institute with over 40 years experience, the Sowa and Botash companies which could further provide  raw materials such as pharmaceutical grade salt and  sodium bicarbonate to the industry which along with a fair regulatory framework for enhancing competition, further transparency on pharmaceutical demand and more public private partnerships, altogether have the potential to build the way forward for Botswana's pharmaceutical sector.



Africa Rise held a workshop on 31st January and 1st of February 2023. A total of 67 attendees contributed to the workshop, including 11 stakeholders which presented on various topics related to the pharmaceutical sector in Botswana, shown in (Figure 1).


Key findings from the stakeholders

Botswana has more than 50 institutions in the biopharmaceutical ecosystem. The biopharmaceutical ecosystem of Botswana consists of the government, a regulatory agency, 38 universities and colleges, 7 research institutions, an Intellectual Property Authority company, 3  human medicines secondary manufacturers, a veterinary vaccine manufacturing company, 32 wholesalers,  public procurement entity, 7 local investment funding agencies and 300 licensed community pharmacies. Furthermore, Botswana Medicine Regulatory Authority has a corporate strategy of 2019-2024, which was adopted as the roadmap for reaching WHO maturity level 3 by 2024.


What is next

A validation workshop will be done to review, discuss and validate the findings from the stakeholder workshop. An investment forum will be held to bring investors to Botswana.


Presentations can be found here:!AgzDwt8t1lCPfb8rWw4xRG4oCNM?e=ofuLzQ