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African governments have been urged to support local manufacturers to create employment opportunities and grow the economy.
The calls come as a Kenyan medical firm, Revital Healthcare Limited in Kikambala, started exporting pharmaceutical supplies.
On Monday, Pakistan High Commissioner to Kenya Saqlain Syedah witnessed the flagging off of a shipment of five million medical syringes to Pakistan.
Ms Syedah said her country was keen on strengthening ties with Kenya.
“I want to congratulate Revital Healthcare for taking a step ahead and taking the relationship of Kenya and Pakistan a notch higher by introducing a new sector of pharmaceuticals in which we cannot only trade but we can also look for other collaboration of value addition and a possibility of joint ventures in Kenya and Pakistan,” she said.
She noted that the production of vaccines was higher than the production of syringes and that was why they had turned to Kenya which manufactures quality products.
“We already have vaccines from everywhere and production is at the same pace as the requirement but then syringes are not produced in the same rate and Revital has actually increased capacity to meet this demand,” she said.
Revital Healthcare Limited Sales, Marketing and Product Development Director Roneek Vora said the country and the continent at large have the capacity to rule the world trade, but there was a need for government support to achieve that.
“We are officially flagging off a shipment of syringes to Pakistan and for the first time in history, a manufacturer based in Africa and specifically Kenya located in Kilifi County is exporting syringes to Pakistan which neighbours India and China that are powerhouses,” he said.
Mr Vora said that African governments had failed to recognise local manufacturers hence opening the region to the dumping of substandard products from outside.
“Africa as a continent we are highly capable, highly equipped and we have the resources, the only thing we lack is the drive from various governments to support local manufacturers to grow,” he said.
The company which has 500 employees, 80 per cent of whom are women, produces Vital supplies, VTM and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and Covid-19 reagents to help in the fight against the pandemic.
The firm has the capacity of producing more than 80,000 complete Covid-19 testing kits in a single day, including VTMs and swabs.
Among the countries that are importing its Covid-19 kits are Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and the United Kingdom.