Pooled Procurement of Medicines in Africa

Africa's supply of essential medicines is heavily dependent on foreign manufacturers delivering products through complex and sometimes fragile global supply chains. Approximately 70 – 90 percent of medicines are imported from outside the region. In addition, many African nations lack the purchasing power of larger countries or economies and, as a result, governments are often unable to negotiate the best prices for essential medicines.

What’s at stake

Locally produced medicines that meet international standards, in combination with stronger collective bargaining power, could help countries across Africa lower drug costs, spur local innovation, improve public health, and enable communities to prepare for the next pandemic.

The pooled procurement framework will help increase resiliency in the supply chain and enable countries to access medicines at a more competitive cost.

Pooled Procurement in Africa At-a-Glance image mobile
Pooled Procurement in Africa At-a-Glance image

Project at-a-glance

  • Countries: 10 (Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia)
  • Timeline: 2019 – 2021
  • Donor: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
  • Technical areas: Resource optimization, local manufacturing

Project goals and objectives

  • Develop a pooled procurement framework to strengthen collective bargaining power and ensure patients have access to safe, effective, quality-assured medicines.  
  • Review current state of pooled procurement and associated enablers and bottlenecks in ten African countries.
  • Recommend strategies for improving access to maternal and child health and essential medicines across targeted countries for future scale-up.


Working in partnership with UNECA, the project achieved the following milestones:

  • The pooled procurement framework was validated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the African Union Development Agency New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), and all ten national government ministries.
  • Several countries adopted and ratified the framework, while the remaining countries are in the process of doing so.
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