On 30 July 2019, the European Commission published an outline of its plan for the novel EU-Africa Global Health Partnership.
“This initiative aims to increase health security in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, building on the current partnership between the EU, its Member States and sub-Saharan countries.” says Michael Makanga, EDCTP’s Executive Director in a newsletter.
“It will speed up the development of effective, safe, accessible and affordable health technologies and health system interventions for infectious diseases, together with African partners and international funders.”
Today, EGHRIN has provided feedback to consultation of the European Commission on the newly proposed partnership. the recommendations were as followed:
- CONTEXT, IMPACT AND BASIS FOR EU INTERVENTION- Health and healthcare represent the largest industry sector in the world; it is a driver for innovation and a major job creator. This is true for both Europe and Africa. Investing in a EU-Africa GH Partnership therefore has potential for impact at several levels (1) HEALTH/ by increasing the health and well being of citizens in Africa through world class research, (2) CAPACITY / bringing together great scientists from both continents will boost development of novel technologies that tackle the growing threat of infectious diseases (3) ECONOMIC / investments by the EU in this area will help market failure, with is currently blocking innovation in this field and will thus boost competitiveness of both continents on the Global Health market..
- OBJECTIVES – EGHRIN welcomes the proposal from the Commission to widen the mandate of the partnership to include health security and antimicrobial resistance. At the same time, EGHRIN is concerned that a clear focus on poverty-related and neglected diseases affecting vulnerable populations may be lost, resulting in insufficient tools to prevent, diagnose or treat infections. Therefore, the various priorities should get a clear budget allocation.
- POLICY OPTIONS FOR THE PARTNERSHIP- EGHRIN agrees that only an institutionalised partnership can offer the structure and level of commitment that is needed to achieve the expected scientific, social, economic and other impacts. Regardless of the specific modality, (Art 185 or Art. 187), the governance needs to guarantee an equitable partnership with sub-Saharan African partner countries and ensure that R&I priorities are identified according to scientific criteria and based on global health needs. EGHRIN welcomes an open approach towards the modality of the partnership: one that does not restrict participation but is open to any organisation supporting R&I in the scope of global health.
- BUDGET – The scope of the partnership warrants an ambitious budget. The European Commission budget contribution should be of at least 1 billion euro, matching the contributions of European and African Participating States, and third parties. The broader scope of the new partnership should not cause funding to be diverted from the classic global health research areas.
- FUNDING INSTRUMENTS – EGHRIN recommends that the funding mechanisms be aligned with the needs of nowadays’ R&I challenges in Europe and Africa. Areas of traditional market failure should remain funded with subsidies. In disease areas where market failure mechanisms are less pronounced, public funding should be used to leverage potential private investments. This can be done via price instruments and blended financing with loans and equity investments. A tight connection with the newly proposed EIC pillar would seem pivotal for the success of the partnership.
- PARTICIPATING STATES CONTRIBUTIONS AND ALIGNMENT European and African Participating States should primarily provide unrestricted cash contributions so that the future partnership can pool funding, achieve critical mass and maximise impact. In kind contributions from Participating States should be avoided, unless they represent proven added value to the partnership. EGHRIN recommends further alignment and integration of national global health programs into the new Partnership. As an example: the EU-Africa Global Health (GH) Partnership would be a great new house for various PDP funds that are currently managed under national governments.