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Making Medicines in Africa: An Historical Political Economy Overview

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  • Open Access

Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter sets out to show that, contrary to widespread misperception, pharmaceutical manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa is an established industry with a long history dating back at least to the 1930s. Data for the industry on the subcontinent are fragmented and incomplete (Berger et al., 2009; UNIDO, 2010a; 2010b; 2011a; 2011b), and this chapter and this book contribute to building a coherent historical picture and evidence base. This chapter presents some illustrative historical evidence, drawn from secondary data, reports and fieldwork by the authors and colleagues, as well as academic and non-academic literature.1 We show that neither industrial capabilities in pharmaceuticals nor policy frameworks to support local pharmaceutical manufacture are a new phenomenon on the subcontinent.


  • Domestic Market
  • Technological Capability
  • Pharmaceutical Sector
  • African Union
  • Local Manufacturing

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© 2016 Geoffrey Banda, Samuel Wangwe and Maureen Mackintosh

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Banda, G., Wangwe, S., Mackintosh, M. (2016). Making Medicines in Africa: An Historical Political Economy Overview. In: Mackintosh, M., Banda, G., Tibandebage, P., Wamae, W. (eds) Making Medicines in Africa. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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