Bongani Ndlovu, economic journalist
ZIMBABWE could be the African industrial center for the manufacturing of Indonesian pharmaceuticals if the efforts of the Embassy of that country come to fruition.
According to Indonesian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dewa Juniarta Sastrawan, talks are underway for Jakarta to work closely with the local pharmaceutical sector to promote the production and marketing of medical supplies in the rest of Africa.
He revealed it during the Diplomats Forum at the just concluded Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, where he announced a pledge of US $ 150,000 in medical supplies to help Zimbabwean communities affected by the Cyclone Idai in 2019.
Amb Sastrawan said the embassy held a meeting early last week in which it made the decision to grant Zimbabwe funding for medical assistance.
âI have to be frank with you, when we decided to join this (ZITF) event last year it was canceled due to a pandemic. Due to this pandemic, we have not been able to participate fully, âhe said.
âWe had a virtual meeting with the pharmaceutical industry on September 21st. We did it this year, and the Indonesian government contributed US $ 150,000 in aid to Cyclone Idai for medicines.
âSo we are working with the Zimbabwean Ambassador in Jakarta to prepare for this shipment. Hopefully it will arrive next month.
âSo that’s part of our assistance with export opportunities. Then we will work together to redevelop and revitalize the pharmaceutical industry in Zimbabwe. We are trying to use Zimbabwe as a hub for manufacturing our products in Africa, âAmb Sastrawan said.
Zimbabwe is already working to boost local production of pharmaceuticals to reduce over-reliance on imports, which sometimes poses potential risks to national health security.
The country imports nearly 90 percent of its pharmaceutical needs, spending hundreds of millions of scarce foreign exchange resources.
The Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Strategy 2021-2025, which was recently launched by Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is the Minister of Health, aims to address some of the challenges facing the industry, including doubling the production of essential drugs to 60 percent and increasing revenues to US $ 150 million from around US $ 32 million.
Amb Sastrawan congratulated the ZITF organizers for successfully holding it under the difficult times of Covid-19.
âI understand that this is not the first time that our embassy has participated in it. I join with Zimbabwe and the people in celebrating the holding of ZITF during this pandemic. I agree with you that it is not easy, like in any other country like mine, to organize such events, âsaid Amb Sastrawan. – Follow on Twitter @bonganinkunzi