Apex Biotech Ltd, a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm co-owned by Rwandans and Bangladeshi investors is expected to open within the next nine months, officials say.
Stakeholders are optimistic that at a time when non-communicable diseases continue to claim more lives than any other disease group, an additional pharmaceutical firm into the Rwandan market will go a long way in timely detection, prevention, treatment and consequently reduce resultant mortality rate.
The plant, whose groundbreaking ceremony was held at Plot D15 in the Kigali Special Economic Zone on Wednesday, will manufacture generic pharmaceutical formulations in all major therapeutics in a variety of dosage forms including tablets, capsules, powder for suspension (PFS), liquid syrups and oral rehydration therapy.
This project worth $18 million which will be built in two phases involves the establishment of a state-of-the-art GMP-compliant pharmaceutical manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 800 million pcs of tablets, 200 million capsules, 8 million bottles and 5 million ORT sachets at optimum capacity utilization.
Herbeton Madari, the Managing Director of Apex Biotech Pharmaceutical-Rwanda said that the firm will advance science for life in the country and provide "high-quality and affordable" medicine that compliments Rwanda's life expectancy mark and boosting economic growth.
Madari's comments were echoed by Namzul Ahasan Sarker, the managing director of Bangladesh-based Health City.
"Our products and technologies will be used to prevent and treat a wide range of medical conditions, including malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB, Hepatitis as well as non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, malnutrition, women's and children's health and chronic pain conditions," Namzul said.
He added that, "with good governance and leadership and business friendly environment as well as growing population, Rwanda was identified as an ideal location for us to set up our first manufacturing facility in Africa. It clearly cements our commitment to supporting a robust health care sector here in Rwanda".
Biotech becomes the second pharmaceutical to break ground for the construction of production plant after Cooper Pharma, a Moroccan pharmaceutical which started construction of its facility last December.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, this will go a long way in reducing foreign exchange Rwanda invests in importing medicines, create jobs as well as improve the quality of healthcare in Rwanda.
In the 2015/2016 Financial Year, Rwanda spent Rwf 74.2 billion to import medicines from foreign manufacturers.