Chinese drugmaker expands in Africa with $91.2M plant in Ethiopia

Ethiopia map

With rising economies and a growing middle class some drugmakers from the West, India and the Middle East have been targeting Africa for new manufacturing facilities. Now one of the bigger Chinese companies, having already completed a plant in Mali, is moving on to Ethiopia.

Humanwell Healthcare will invest 2 billion BRR ($91.9 million ) to build a plant in the Hageremaraim Kesem district of Amhara, located approximately 65 kilometers north of Addis Abeba, according to Abbis Fortune. The facility is slated to be complete by sometime in 2018 and will manufacture tablets, capsules, injections and syrups, the newspaper reports.

According to earlier reports, Humanwell completed what it refers to as the largest drug manufacturing plant in West Africa in Mali last year.  

Africa is one of the fastest growing emerging pharma markets and so is drawing drugmakers from many other countries. A McKinsey & Co. report last year said the market had grown over a decade to $20.8 billion from $4.7 billion in 2003 and could hit as much as $52 billion by 2020.

Some markets, like South Africa, where Johnson & Johnson last year expanded a plant, has a long history of drug manufacturing, but other markets are also drawing interest. Earlier this year, India's Strides Shasun agreed to pay up to $14 million to buy a 51% stake in Kenya's Universal Corp., getting a WHO prequalified plant in Kenya in the process.  Western drugmakers are taking more interest in Africa as well.  Last year, AstraZeneca said it would build a $125 million small-molecule plant in Algeria through a joint venture. Sanofi already has three plants in that North African country.

- read the Addis Fortune story

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