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    19 October 2010

    Re-issued as received

    Germany Gives over 1 Million Euros for UNIDO Project to Manufacture Generic Drugs for World's Poor

    VIENNA, 19 October (UN Information Service) - Germany will contribute 1.2 million euros to help expand and upgrade small and medium enterprises in a number of developing and least developed countries, mainly in Africa and in Asia, to locally manufacture essential generic drugs.

    The project, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), will help the poor to access medicines at affordable prices.

    An agreement on this was signed in Vienna today by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN Organizations in Vienna, Ambassador Rüdiger Lüdeking.

    "Millions of people in Africa die each year from HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. Many deaths could be prevented with timely access to appropriate and affordable medicines," said UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella.

    Thanking Germany for its continued support for the work of the Organization, he underlined the role of Germany as "one of the largest voluntary contributors to the work of UNIDO".

    Ambassador Lüdeking said: "Access to medicines at affordable prices is a humanitarian concern; at the same time such access is also a key prerequisite for development. Africa will remain the main regional focus for the project being the continent where access to affordable drugs is the most problematic, and where the previous UNIDO projects funded by Germany have gained the most experience. This will be complemented by activities in Asia as a response to requests from governments."

    While the overall pharmaceutical market in sub-Saharan Africa is worth USD 3.8 billion annually, the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Africa contributes only 25-30 per cent of the continent's needs. The production of life-saving drugs is furthermore concentrated in very few African countries: 70 per cent of pharmaceutical manufacturing takes place in South Africa and an additional 20 per cent in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

    Health is also a very important prerequisite to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Further developing local manufacturing has the potential to positively impact the health outcomes in developing countries, as well as add to economic growth.

    Since 2006, Germany has been funding two UNIDO global projects totaling 3.3 million euros to strengthen the local production of essential generic medicines to fight pandemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB in the least developed countries.

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    For more information, please contact:

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Advocacy and Communication Group
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329