Rwanda has launched construction of its first pharmaceutical plant which will manufacture a range of drugs, thus cutting medical import expenses.
The plant, Cooper Pharma East Africa by Cooper Pharma, a Moroccan pharmaceutical company will be located in Kigali Special Economic Zone on 20,000 square meters.
It will include laboratories, manufacturing section, container manufacturing, and administration blocks.
The first phase will cost $6 million and will be completed within 18 months with capacity to employ 40 people in production of non PVC Intravenous bags, oral solid dosages, all tablets including painkillers, and antibiotics.
The second phase will start after performance assessment of the first phase.
Speaking to the media during the groundbreaking event on Friday, Ayman Cheikh Lahlou CEO Cooper Pharma said that the plant was designed in accordance with European Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) quality standards.
He also said, Rwanda is the best choice for such an important venture.
“We wanted to start a firm in East Africa and our assessment showed us that Rwanda was the only competitive country which presented to us many opportunities,” he said.
To emphasise his point, Cheikh Lahlou said that Rwanda offered them the 20,000 square meter space free of charge.
Normally, one square meter at Kigali Special Economic Zone is sold at $62, which means that Rwanda gave the plant $1.2million incentives.
This, according to the owner, comes in addition to other incentives that were provided to them through Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
“I wish we had a RDB model back home,” said Cheikh Lahlou.
Claire Akamanzi the CEO of RDB said that this pharmaceutical firm is one the investment that they are proud of.
“The establishment of the first pharmaceutical firm in Rwanda is a significant milestone for the country in reducing imports,” she said adding that Rwanda spends about $100 million annually on medical imports.
Many pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to establish their franchises in Rwanda, but Cooper Pharma is laying a foundation for them.
This, said Cheikh Lahlou, is another sign that Morocco and Rwanda have a strong bond.
“We share strong values including improving people’s health. And we are here to work hand in hand with the government to improve the good health of the citizens,” he said.
This project is among the 21 deals that were signed between Morocco and Rwanda in October 2016 during a 3-day visit of King Mohammed VI to Rwanda.