African Medicines Agency: Algeria suffers another setback

It is ultimately Rwanda that will house the headquarters of the African Medicines Agency (AMA). The vote, which took place within the framework of the 41st session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) held on July 14 and 15 in Lusaka. This decision was a new setback for the Algerian regime, represented by Ramtane Lamamra, essential when it comes to scheming.

But it was a waste of time! It’s not that Lamamra wasn’t overzealous, on the contrary, he struggled like a little (big) devil to try to mobilize around an Algerian dossier, all in all very weak, and which doesn’t failed to convince.

Everything has been tried: Lobbying, shenanigans in the corridors, attempts to buy votes, to bribe voters, and even to dangle money, that of the Algerians who are still queuing for a liter of milk or a kilo potatoes… But nothing helped!

With a massive vote in favor of Rwanda, the African countries have clearly shown that the choice was definitively and ineluctably focused on this African country whose file was placed at the top of the list of the eight candidates in the running, namely Tunisia, Morocco , Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Rwanda and Algeria.

The vote, it should be specified, was made on the basis of a scientific evaluation process, which was nevertheless (oh surprise) contested by our friend Lamara and his delegation, who refused to accept the objective verdict of the evaluation team under the AU Commission.

If this behavior was somewhat “shocked”, it was above all the reflection of a rout, yet another, of Algerian diplomacy, still hostage to outdated processes, and which has trouble digesting the democratic processes in force in the whole world.

This attitude of the Algerian delegation did not fail to attract attention, even arousing reactions in the continental press.

Growing isolation

In this sense, the Senegalese site “Senego” pointed out that ” the disavowal thus noted by Algeria, even though it had staked everything, also confirms the decline in its capacity to mobilize within the African Union”.

“ISolé, this country can no longer influence the sovereign decision of African countries despite its lobbying within the confines and corridors of the Executive Council in Lusaka and, above all, despite its attempt at intimidation to induce Rwanda to cede the first place in the ranking, an attempt which aroused the astonishment and indignation of the participants in this Council“, notes the media again.

Lamamra and co even went so far as to try to support the offer to house the WADA headquarters by promising a financial subsidy of around 200 million dollars as well as taking charge of the whole costs for the operationalization of the headquarters during the first two years. Nevertheless, notes Senego, this offer was ignored.

This gymnastics, which Algerian diplomacy has been accustomed to for many years, has been perceived by many African diplomats as a ” blackmail “clearly” insulting for the intelligence of the representatives of the countries of the Continent.

Propaganda, again and again

Before the holding of this 41st session which was to deliver the verdict of the headquarters of the AMA, the Algerian propaganda machine had however worked at full steam.

The titles of the big draws all gave the favorite country of this “race”. The Ministry of the Pharmaceutical Industry even issued a press release to claim that ” the conclusions of the work report of the First Conference of States Parties to the treaty establishing the AMA, show that the candidacy of Algeria arrives with that of Rwanda among the first two of the ranking. The Algerian file thus exceeded in the ranking Tunisia, Morocco, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and Egypt..

Strengthened by its institutional, regulatory and human resources and the unprecedented development of its pharmaceutical industry, but also by the guarantees offered to WADA, pursuant to the instructions and program of the President of the Republic, Algeria’s candidacy now appears as the favorite to host the headquarters of this Agency“, let the department of Abderrahmane Djamel Lotfi Benbahmed dream.

But you have to believe that he was the only one to think so…in a country where the perpetual shortage creates a most prosperous black market for counterfeit drugs. And there was a need for proof, the Covid-19 pandemic came to lift the veil on a more than failing health and medicine system.

If an average of 15% of the population has been vaccinated against covid-19, which is far from the objectives of the WHO, Algeria owes it mainly to the multilateral mechanism Covax, which provided it with a total of 1,420,800 vaccine doses.

AMA in the footsteps of EMA

As a reminder, the project to create the African Medicines Agency (AMA) has been muted since 2009. Coming into force last November, the second health agency on the continent (after the African CDC) was born of a joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the AU.

Based on the model of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the new continental structure, which will be based in Rwanda (no offense to Lamamra), will be responsible for ensuring the availability of medicines and vaccines on the African continent. . It will also have to strengthen the fight against counterfeit medicines as well as counterfeit medical products or products of dubious or inferior quality.

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