WINDHOEK - The Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Secretariat has expressed concern that there are only two countries, namely Namibia and South Africa, who are currently manufacturing condoms in the region.
Sadc states that male and female condoms are the only devices currently available that offer triple protection from sexually transmitted HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies.
This is according to the Sadc Potential Projects in Pharmaceutical and Minerals Sector report.
“With a total population of over 300 million, the Sadc region remains a key market for condoms. currently, manufacturing of condoms is undertaken in two countries; namely Namibia and South Africa but these essentially only serve their domestic market. There is thus a need for increased production in the region,” the report indicates.
The Costed Action Plan of the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap as approved by summit in 2017, identified six priority value chain clusters namely; agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, pharmaceuticals, capital goods, consumer goods and services.
An important component of the development of the prioritised regional value chains, detailed feasibility studies have to be undertaken on each of the identified potential value chain projects to assess if they could be formulated into attractive investment projects for the private sector to invest in.
The profiling of the minerals and pharmaceutical sectors as well as the agro-processing were completed in 2018.
Therefore, Sadc highlighted that condoms were identified in the pharmaceutical sector as one of the potential value chain projects.
Another potential value chain project identified is the Antiretrovirals (ARVs).
The report shows that Sadc remains a global epicentre for the HIV pandemic.
It reveals that currently, only five companies in Sadc manufacture ARVs, which altogether covers only 15 percent of the Sadc generic ARV market.
“Therefore, there is undeniable opportunities for investment in the region for supply of ARVs,” the report stated.
Estimates in 2013 indicate that of 14.7 million people who were living with HIV; 11.7 million of them currently need Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), but only 6 million (52 percent) were actually on ART.
Sadc says the Wold Health Organisation (WHO) recommended policy shift of treating at CD4<500 to “Test and Treat” and the UNAIDS “90-90-90” strategy will increase the number of HIV positive people to be treated with ART from the existing six million to 15 million people by 2020.
Hence, the need for more ARVs suppliers in the region.
The other potential value projects in the Minerals sector include copper and energy storage or battery.
Sadc says despite the region’s relative limited reserves and population in copper, there is need to assess the potential areas for investment that would maximise utilisation of the copper feedstock in the region to take advantage of the existing significant market for value added copper products, such as copper wires, tubes and cables.
Equally, the reports show that the Sadc region is home to over 50 percent of the world’s reserves of cobalt, which accounts for up to 60 percent of battery weight.
“The current demand for renewables and electric vehicles offers considerable advantage to the region remains untapped. While the Sadc region might not be in a position to produce end use products in terms of energy storage and batteries, opportunities exist for the production of battery components and other key inputs for the value chains,” the Sadc report highlights.
According to the report, the Sadc operating mines and projects provide a major opportunity (market) for the regional body mining and mineral processing inputs sector which estimated to be over N$182 billion (U$4 billion) in 2014.