Where do the medicines available in East Africa come from? Most, as we would expect, are imported from countries such as India and China. Some drugs, however, are locally produced. Already in the 1980s, locally-owned pharmaceutical firms opened in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Today, these locally-owned pharmaceutical firms are able to produce complex anti-AIDS and anti-malarial drugs. In this talk I will explore the global political-economic and health conditions that allowed local pharmaceutical production in East Africa. Specifically, I will focus on the role of foreign aid – including the World Health Organization, the Global Fund and some bilateral development agencies – in supporting, but also inhibiting, local production. Against the backdrop of Africa’s pursuit of economic self-sufficiency, the battle against AIDS and malaria, and bitter negotiations over affordable drugs, I offer a corrective to popular views on foreign aid and development – which offers some important lessons to the COVID era as well.
Speaker Nitsan Chorev, Brown University link bio