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EU, Nigeria sign €18m agreement on local vaccine production, medical technologies

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By Stellamaries Amuwa, Abuja

The European Union and Nigeria have signed a cooperation agreement on an €18 million EU support to enhance research and development capacities for implementing Nigeria’s national plan for the pharmaceutical industry and local production of vaccines and medical technologies.

The European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms Jutta Urpilainen, and the Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education, Ms Didi Esther Walson-Jack, jointly signed the agreement at the EU Global Gateway High-Level Event on Education held in Brussels on Thursday. The new collaboration underlines the EU’s strong commitment to education and health equity.

Commissioner Urpilainen said, “Economic growth is dependent on an educated, skilled workforce and healthy societies, and investing in strengthening education and health systems worldwide is an integral part of the European Union’s Global Gateway strategy. Our investments in quality education, research and training seek to empower future generations by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and competencies they need in a changing world to tackle global challenges and build prosperity.”

Meanwhile, the European funding signed on Thursday under the Team Europe Initiative on Manufacturing and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies in Africa (MAV+) will support the wider enabling environment around Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector, notably by promoting: skills development through education and training, research and development (e.g. research in artificial intelligence and nanotechnology), the digitalisation of essential dimensions of the ecosystem, a centralised system for forecasting, procurement and distribution of quality medical products, trade, investment and customs facilitation, intellectual property rights frameworks and conditions, and an enabling environment for preferential trade and investment.

Commissioner Urpilainen also signed 15 Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme projects funded by the EU with €27 million under the flagship Youth Mobility for Africa. The projects will provide learning mobility opportunities for students, trainees and staff across the continent to boost high-level green and digital skills. Nigeria will benefit from six projects:
• CB4EE – Capacity Building for Engineering Education Practice and Research (€1.8 million of EU funding in total, with the participation of the University of Lagos-Unilag).

Commissioner Urpilainen also launched a key initiative of the Youth Action Plan in EU external relations, the Africa-Europe Youth Academy, which will provide opportunities for formal and informal learning and exchanges to young people looking to improve their leadership skills and create networks between Africa and Europe.

Nigeria can also benefit from the regional Team Europe Initiative on Opportunity-driven Skills and Vocational Education and Training in Africa, launched today, which will orient country-level vocational training initiatives towards concrete employment opportunities created by Global Gateway investments.

According to the EU, Education is a powerful mechanism to address inequality and poverty, boosting human potential, opening doors for girls, youth and marginalised groups, and providing a springboard for human connections, debate and democratic values.

“Education creates an enabling environment for investments in digital and green transformations to succeed, and forms an integral part of the EU’s Global Gateway offer to partner countries.
The European Union is the leading investor in education worldwide.

The EU institutions and Member States provide more than 50% of all official development aid to education worldwide.

The EU committed to dedicating at least 10% of its international partnerships budget for the period 2021–2027 to education. In the period 2021–2023, the EU’s commitments have amounted to around €3 billion, approximately 13% of the budget.

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