Nigeria is on track to become a hub for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing in sub-Saharan Africa by early 2024, thanks to a private-sector investment backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB). This project aims to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imported APIs, lower the cost of medicines, create jobs, and improve public health. However, it also faces some challenges such as competition from foreign markets, quality standards, and regulatory issues. In this article, I will discuss the details, benefits, and challenges of this project, and why it is important for Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry and economy.

One of the main benefits of this project is that it will reduce Nigeria’s reliance on imported APIs, which currently account for over 90 percent of its API needs. According to data from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the value of finished imported drugs such as artemether/lumefantrine grew from N6.4 billion in 2018 to N12.1 billion in 2021 (NAFDAC, 2021). By producing these APIs locally, Nigeria will save on foreign exchange, avoid supply disruptions, and enhance its drug security. For instance, Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, the company behind this project, estimates that it will produce 200 metric tonnes of APIs yearly, enough to produce millions of doses of medicines for malaria and other diseases (Okoli, 2023).

Another benefit of this project is that it will lower the cost of medicines for Nigerian consumers and manufacturers. As Emeka Okoli, chairman of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries, explained, producing APIs locally will eliminate the profit margin that foreign suppliers charge on their products, giving Nigerian manufacturers a competitive edge against imported drugs (Okoli, 2023). Moreover, local production will also meet the demand of smaller manufacturers who cannot afford to buy large consignments from abroad, as they will be able to buy as little as two tonnes of APIs from Emzor (Okoli, 2023). This will increase the availability and affordability of medicines in Nigeria, especially for low-income and rural populations.

However, this project also faces some challenges that need to be addressed. One of them is the competition from foreign markets, especially India and China, which are the major suppliers of APIs in the world. These countries have lower production costs and higher economies of scale than Nigeria, which may make their products more attractive to buyers. Therefore, Nigeria needs to ensure that its products are of high quality and meet the international standards and regulations. This requires investing in technology, infrastructure, training, and quality control systems.

Another challenge is the regulatory environment in Nigeria and Africa. Currently, there is no harmonized regulatory framework for API manufacturing in Africa, which means that each country has its own rules and requirements. This may create barriers and uncertainties for local producers who want to export their products to other African markets. Therefore, Nigeria needs to work with other African countries and regional bodies such as the African Union and the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Initiative to develop a common regulatory system that will facilitate trade and cooperation among African API manufacturers.

In conclusion, the API manufacturing project in Nigeria is a promising initiative that will boost Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry and economy. By producing APIs locally, Nigeria will reduce its import dependency, lower its drug costs, create jobs, and improve its public health. However, this project also faces some challenges such as competition from foreign markets, quality standards, and regulatory issues. Therefore, it is important for Nigeria to address these challenges and ensure that this project is successful and sustainable. Nigeria should also explore other opportunities to develop its pharmaceutical sector and become a leader in Africa.


Previous articleDelta state government signs ₦78 billion contract with Julius Berger for warri road project
Next articleHow Craneburg construction company is transforming the Eti-Osa/Lekki/Epe expressway


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.