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Corruption risks related to investment in vaccine manufacturing facilities in Africa

The establishment of vaccine manufacturing facilities in Africa can help reduce inequities seen in global Covid-19 vaccine distribution. Diversifying manufacturing will nonetheless require a large-scale of investment of resources, which brings significant corruption risks. These risks start with the capture of manufacturing policy, through to the operationalisation of facilities and the distribution of vaccines. Development funders supporting diversification have an important role to play in helping responsible firms invest in manufacturing. Funders can work with international health organisations and national governments to reduce the opacity around vaccine development and production, which has harmed the pandemic response to date.

19 December 2022
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Corruption risks related to investment in vaccine manufacturing facilities in Africa

Main points

  • Africa is the region that has suffered most from inequity in the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Limited regional vaccine manufacturing capacity has been a contributing factor.
  • Corruption risks are present across the value chain for manufacturing. Pharmaceutical firms are in a position of power, which can be exploited to capture policy for narrow commercial interests. Financial structures, including forms of blended finance, need to be fully transparent to prevent conflicts of interest and the misuse of funds.
  • The literature points to registration of vaccines and public procurement processes as being key areas of risk. These systems have been disrupted in the pandemic response. Clearer guidelines are needed in this new context to lower vulnerabilities to corruption.
  • Geographic shifts in vaccine manufacture should be accompanied by an increase in transparency. Different groups of actors must collaborate to make more information available for scrutiny, including on the public funding and financial incentives offered to manufacturers to diversify, clinical trial and pricing data, as well as contractual terms.

Cite this publication

Shipley, T.; (2022) Corruption risks related to investment in vaccine manufacturing facilities in Africa. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2022:21)

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About the author

Tom Shipley

Tom Shipley is a Researcher at the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption. His research explores how the anti-corruption field can improve understanding of its impact. Alongside this research, Tom has provided expert reports and analysis for a range of organisations in the field including Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, Transparency International, the UK government, USAID, and the World Bank.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)