Chinese pharmaceutical giant starts production in Ethiopia
Chinese pharmaceutical giant, Sansheng Pharmaceuticals Plc, on Sunday inaugurated its production plant in Ethiopia amid the east African country's higher demand for import substitution in medicines, Xinhua reported.
Sansheng Pharmaceuticals Plc, which commenced its first phase of production on Sunday, has an annual production capacity of 5 billion solid preparations, 300 million ampoules and 10 million large volume parenterals.
The Ethiopian government, which has been expressing its concern over the minimal share of local medical drugs production for the East African country's domestic use, stressed the benefits of the Chinese pharmaceutical firm in saving large amount of hard currency through import substitution.
Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said during the plant's inauguration ceremony that despite the Ethiopian government's various measures to support the pharmaceutical sector, the "sector has not yet evolved into where we projected it to be -- both in terms of its investment portfolio, production capacity, technology acquisition and the creation of employment opportunities."
He also noted that the sector is still dominated by heavy importation of pharmaceutical products from abroad, which currently represents about 85 percent of the annual 500 million U.S. dollar local market.
"Your investment to Ethiopia could not have come at a more opportune moment," Mekonnen said.
Located inside the premises of the Eastern Industry Zone on the outskirt of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, the pharmaceutical plant is a 85 million U.S. dollars investment, which was completed in less than two years.
Sansheng Pharmaceuticals Plc, headquartered in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, also disclosed its ambitions to serve both local and international market.
Mindy Liu, the company's international business manager, told Xinhua that the company will in the near future embark on exporting medical drugs to other African countries as well as to the rest of the world, eventually bringing the much needed hard currency to the East African country.
She further noted that by putting quality at its core business value, the company will provide its products with an affordable price rate that suits the local market.
Tan Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, also said that Sansheng Pharmaceuticals Plc could be seen as the newest evidence of the flourishing Ethiopia-China relations.
According to him, the company, which is environment-friendly with high-end technological equipment as well as a source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Ethiopia, currently operates with over 90 percent of local employees.