First signing country, Rwanda, to host regulator’s HQs
After nearly a four-year span since the African Union (AU) adopted the African Medicines Agency (AMA), Ethiopia has recently initiated the process of ratifying the establishment document.
This step signifies Ethiopia’s commitment to joining other African nations in establishing a regulatory body for medicines at a continental level. The primary goal of the Agency, adopted by the AU in February 2019, is to evaluate and improve access to safe medicines and medical products across all participating countries.
Rwanda promptly ratified the treaty and duly submitted the required documents to the AU. As a result, Rwanda was chosen as the distinguished host country for the Agency over a year ago at the 41st Ordinary Session of the African Union’s Executive Council
The decision was further solidified through the signing of an official agreement between the Rwandan government and the AU in Kigali three months ago.
For the treaty to come into effect, a minimum of 15 countries needed to sign, ratify it within their own jurisdictions, and submit the ratification to the AU within two years of its adoption in 2019.
In November 2021, the treaty came into force after Cameroon became the 15th country to deposit the instrument of ratification.
Now, after over four years since its adoption in Addis Ababa during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, the Ethiopian government has submitted the treaty to the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR) for review and ratification.
On October 17, 2023, the treaty, accompanied by an explanatory document, was officially presented to Parliament by Tesfaye Beljige, the Government Whip. The House, presided over by Speaker Tagesse Chafo, reviewed the treaty, gathering feedback from Members of Parliament (MPs), before referring it to the concerned standing Committee of the House for further review.
The Agency will play a crucial role in coordinating and enhancing continental efforts to harmonize the regulation of medical products. It will provide direction and technical support to regional economic communities (RECs), regional health organizations (RHOs), and member states. The Agency also aims to contribute to the continent’s progress in accessing high-quality, safe, and effective medical items and technologies.
As of September 19, 2023, a total of 26 countries have ratified the treaty and deposited their instruments of ratification. However, 32 countries, including Ethiopia, have signed the treaty since Rwanda became the first to do so in June 2019.
While Ethiopia signed the treaty in April 2022, it is yet to ratify and deposit the ratification document.
Rwanda, on the other hand, swiftly ratified the treaty and submitted the necessary documents to the African Union.
Regarding the headquarters of the Agency, a dozen countries that have deposited their ratification documents have expressed their interest in hosting it. Notable candidates included Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, and Uganda.