Morocco continues its fight against the pandemic after months in which the country has been on edge following the rapid spread of Omicron. The Kingdom has now launched a project in which it will build a vaccine manufacturing plant in the province of Bensliman, in the Casablanca-Settat region. In this new factory, anti-COVID-19 inoculations will be created, as well as other vaccines. The infrastructure, according to MAP News, Morocco's official news agency, is an idea created by King Mohammed VI, who is trying to position the Kingdom as "an essential biotechnology centre in Africa and the world, capable of meeting the continent's health needs in the short and long term," the agency says.
MAP says the plant will get an estimated investment of between 400 and 500 million euros for its construction. It will enable the clinical development, manufacturing and marketing of essential biopharmaceuticals that experts say will ensure immunity across the African continent. The plant has already begun construction, and is expected to produce the first test batch by the end of July. In total, the building will consist of three industrial lines capable of producing around 116 million units by 2024. The company that will carry out the project is Sweden's Recipharm, which is part of a project called "Fill & Finish" that seeks to integrate countries into the world's most efficient biotech platforms.
The same company reports that the Moroccan unit, dubbed "SENSYO Pharmatech", will become the largest vaccine production site in Africa, and one of the top five in the world. The main objective of the European brand in the Kingdom is to manufacture more than 20 vaccines and pharmaceuticals made in Morocco in less than three years, which will cover 70% of the country and even more than 60% of Africa's needs.
King Mohammed VI, as the main leader of the project, presided over the signing ceremony of the agreement and visited the site where the industrial plant will be built. He was also accompanied by a large part of the Moroccan government who were present at the signing of the agreement. These included Nadia Fettah Alaoui, Minister of Economy and Finance, Nizar Baraka, Minister of Equipment and Water, Khalid Aït Taleb, Minister of Health and Social Protection, Younes Sekkouri, Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, and Mohcine Jazouli, Minister Delegate in charge of the Ministry of Investment, Convergence and Evaluation of Public Policies.
The company in charge of the plan was represented by Othman Benjelloun, president of the company "Sensyo Pharmatech", and Said Ahmidouch, the region's vali.
The Minister of Health, said at the press conference that "Morocco will initiate a new turn towards the realisation of vaccines and health sovereignty. The Kingdom has embarked on this step to address the shortage of vaccines and their unfair distribution".
Today, Morocco produces around three million doses per month. With the new plant, capacity after February will increase to five million doses, and by the end of the year, 20 million doses per month are expected to be produced. By 2025, the Kingdom will be able to make more than 2 billion doses of vaccines.
According to the latest data, 73.2 % of the Moroccan population is fully vaccinated, with more than 23 million people inoculated, and 78.2 % have at least one dose administered, meaning that almost 25 million Moroccans have this first part of their inoculation. The Kingdom also claims that the highest peak of the last wave of Omicron has already been passed, and cases will start to decline as time goes on.