20 October 2021


Currently, Africa manufactures only about one percent of the COVID-19 vaccines that are needed on the continent. To assist in increasing the numbers, IFU and a group of Development Finance Institutions are providing finance for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited, which is manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe negative consequences in Africa and compared to other parts of the world the roll-out of vaccinations on the continent is lacking behind.

To assist in meeting this challenge, IFU and a group of Development Finance Institutions are providing finance for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in South Africa.

– Our joint investment in Aspen is a solid step forward to assist Africa in producing COVID-19 vaccines for its own population. Hopefully, it will help speed up the roll-out of vaccinations across the continent, reduce infection rates and lead to a faster recovery of the economy, said Torben Huss, IFU’s CEO.

New production facility in South Africa
Headquartered in Durban, South Africa, Aspen is a specialty and 15 branded pharmaceutical company. It is active in more than 50 countries worldwide, operating 23 manufacturing facilities across 15 sites. The Group employs approximately 9,000 people.

Aspen has invested in a fully certified sterile injectables facility at its existing site at Gqeberha (formally known as Port Elizabeth) to produce its anaesthetics portfolio and other sterile medicines, including COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 financing from IFU
The financing for Aspen Pharmacare is partially provided by European Financing Partners, which is a DKK 2 billion joint initiative by the European Investment Bank and several European Development Finance Institutions, including IFU. The partnership was set up to secure substantial funding for new initiatives or to mitigate the shortfall of funding from commercial banks following COVID-19, for example. In 2020, IFU committed DKK 113m to European Financing Partners.

– By providing financing to Aspen Pharmacare, the European Financing Partners initiative has proved its relevance, and we are looking forward to supporting more projects that can assist African countries in building back better and greener, said Torben Huss.