Chair of the African Union (AU), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the launch of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) on 19 June. The platform serves as a single online marketplace to facilitate the procurement of COVID-19-related critical medical equipment by African nations.
Ramaphosa described the AMSP as “a jewel in the crown of Pan-African cooperation’’ and stated that the Platform will assist security of supply, ensure price competitiveness and transparency in procurement. It will also reduce logistical delays, expedite payment processes and act as a shared resource for governments and non-governmental organisations to access services and certified suppliers.
The AMSP was created as a collaboration between the AU Special Envoy, Strive Masiyiwa, and is powered by Janngo on behalf of the AU Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Other partners are the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and other African and international corporations and institutions.
As COVID-19 has spread there has been a surge in global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies. The AU was concerned that African nations might be prejudiced in view of global shortages and decided that a continental strategy was required to mitigate this.
Ramaphosa added that the AMSP would focus on African suppliers and manufacturers and boost African businesses. Masiyiwa stated that the Platform would showcase ‘made in Africa’ COVID-19 medical products. Further, once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, this would also be available on the AMSP.