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Analysis of pan-African Centres of excellence in health innovation highlights opportunities and challenges for local innovation and financing in the continent

Solomon Nwaka12*, Alexander Ochem12, Dominique Besson2, Bernadette Ramirez2, Foluke Fakorede12, Sanaa Botros3, Uford Inyang4, Charles Mgone5, Ivan Adae-Mensah6, Victor Konde7, Barthelemy Nyasse8, Blessed Okole9, Anastasia Guantai10, Glaudina Loots11, Peter Atadja12, Peter Ndumbe13, Issa Sanou13, Ole Olesen14, Robert Ridley15 and Tshinko Ilunga16

Author Affiliations

1 African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2 UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

3 Theodore Bilharz Research Institute, Cairo, Egypt

4 Fordsin Pharmacare Systems Ltd, Abuja, Nigeria

5 European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, The Hague, Netherlands

6 Department of Chemistry, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

7 United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

8 University of Yaoundé, Yaoundé, Cameroon

9 Technology Innovation Agency, Department of Science and Technology, Cape Town, South Africa

10 University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

11 Department of Science and Technology, Cape Town, South Africa

12 Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Shanghai, China

13 Regional Office for Africa, World Health Organization, Brazzaville, Congo

14 European Commission, DG Research, Brussels, Belgium

15 University of Malawi, Box 278, Zomba, Malawi

16 Health Development Consultant, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2012, 12:11  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-12-11

Published: 27 July 2012


A pool of 38 pan-African Centres of Excellence (CoEs) in health innovation has been selected and recognized by the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI), through a competitive criteria based process. The process identified a number of opportunities and challenges for health R&D and innovation in the continent: i) it provides a direct evidence for the existence of innovation capability that can be leveraged to fill specific gaps in the continent; ii) it revealed a research and financing pattern that is largely fragmented and uncoordinated, and iii) it highlights the most frequent funders of health research in the continent. The CoEs are envisioned as an innovative network of public and private institutions with a critical mass of expertise and resources to support projects and a variety of activities for capacity building and scientific exchange, including hosting fellows, trainees, scientists on sabbaticals and exchange with other African and non-African institutions.