The European Business Council for Africa



COVID-19: The public-private sector partnership is the key to a successful strategy for Africa


Brussels, 02 June 2021


A year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health impact on the African continent is less severe than expected. The African resilience is due to its young population that is less at risk compared to other continents, its low urban concentration that limits the circulation of the virus and above all the experience in managing epidemics. A deficient tracing system and a lack of causes of death have to be mentioned, too.

However, these relative “advantages” in dealing with the pandemic have not spared Africa economically and socially as it has been facing a more deadly second wave since the end of 2020. This results in a collapse in the price and demand for raw materials, together with a fall of the African GDP by 2.6% in 2020.

The exit from the economic crisis will be slower in Africa as most countries do not have the same means European countries have. 

EBCAM concerns about African continent’s access to vaccines: the delay in the deployment of national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa has revived the debate on relocation to Europe or the installation of industrial capacities to manufacture tests, vaccines and drugs in the African continent. The COVAX initiative is expected to cover only 20% of the African population with COVID-19 vaccines.

EBCAM believes that a public-private partnership is one of the essential keys to resolving the related crisis in three strategic axes:

  • the re-establishment of critical parts of the supply chain in Europe and the creation in Africa of new production capacities for essential health goods and materials (masks, tests, medical devices, vaccines, drugs, etc.), 
  • preparation for the management of pandemics through the development of shared tools for health monitoring,
  • innovation and digital tools as a lever to help strengthen innovative health systems

EBCAM proposals, which were put forward and retained within the framework of the Working Group on Health for the next EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF), aim at a release from the European Union of substantial funding, through its financial instruments and towards this direction to:

  • support European companies, particularly in the Medtech and Biotech sectors,
  • support the ecosystem of start-ups and micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector in Africa, 
  • finance industrial projects to create new production units,
  • support for the creation of a platform to identify and centralise initiatives taken in several countries by companies and /or local governments for a better control of the pandemic.


You can read the full position paper here.