Tanzania plans to start manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines in a move aimed at cutting the cost of importing them.
President Samia Suluhu has asked the European Union to consider funding the plan as the country seeks to become a major exporter of vaccines in East and Southern Africa.
“Tanzania wishes to submit a proposal on the same, and I am looking forward to facilitation of this idea into a fruitful project. I trust this plan, when implemented, will open new avenues to deepen our ties,” President Suluhu told the European Council president Charles Michel during a visit to Belgium.
African countries -- Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya -- are also in talks with investors to start the production of coronavirus vaccines.
Tanzania estimates to spend about Tsh216 billion ($93 million) by 2030 importing vaccines, which the President says underlies “the importance of building local manufacturing capacity.”
According to a statement released on Wednesday by the director of Presidential Communications Zuhura Yunus, Tanzania has received development assistance from the EU worth more than 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion) since 1975.
Meanwhile, President Suluhu also urged the EU to continue supporting the Burundi government to ensure stability and development.
“A stable Burundi is good for the Great Lakes Region, good for the EU and the world,” she said.
On February 8, the EU announced that it would lift sanctions on Burundi imposed seven years ago.
The sanctions included the suspension of financial support and disbursements of funds directly to the Burundian administration or institutions.
At the time, EU member states contributed almost 50 percent of Burundi’s annual budget.