The company sahel gas was chosen to facilitate investment in oxygen production in Africa during the Covid-19 health crisis. Technical support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and its partners to increase production under the Pharmaceutical Initiative process will be provided.
The technical team of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) pharmaceutical initiative embedded in the African Free Trade Area (AFTA) conducted a fact-finding mission to Senegal from 31 January to 1st February. Led by Jeane Koronga, ECA Economic Affairs Officer and Project Leader. The purpose of the visit was to enable the initiative’s technical team to familiarise themselves with the medical gas production capacity of Sahel gas ltd. This is to facilitate investment opportunities to increase oxygen production on the African continent to reduce the damage of covid-19.
As a result, Sahel gas was selected to receive technical support from the ECA and its partners to scale up its production as part of the pharmaceutical initiative process.
During the visit, Mustapha Sene, representative of sahel gas, said that one of the main challenges facing the company was the lack of a guaranteed market for medical oxygen. It therefore calls on the ECA to consider putting in place strategies that can break down market barriers. In response, the ECA Economic Affairs Officer highlighted the advantages of the FTAA for this project. According to her, the pharmaceutical initiative’s pooled procurement arm will provide market share as long as the company will produce enough medical gases to the required standards.
Sahel Gas, an indispensable medical gas production company.
Created in 1991, Sahel Gas is a limited company with a capital of 200 million CFA francs entirely owned by nationals. The company has been a specialist in medical gases since 1995. It will therefore produce good quality oxygen. It is the second largest supplier of medical oxygen after Access Oxygen, founded in 1929. With an estimated oxygen purity of 99.99%, it designs solutions for on-site oxygen production only. This is for hospitals and clinics that are suitable for healthcare facilities of all sizes. Sahel Gas has continuously supported the epidemiological centres for the fight against Covid-19 in Senegal.
In addition, the sustained demands of neighbouring countries facing the same medical emergencies and the same medical oxygen supply issues have once again demonstrated the need for regional coverage of medical oxygen demand.
With this in mind, Sahel Gas has set up a project to install a liquid oxygen production unit. This production unit has a capacity equivalent to 4.4tpd (tonnes per day) in addition to the oxygen production with a capacity of 4.275tpd. The sum will make a total of 8.65tpd of oxygen. This quantity of oxygen will thus represent the hub for the distribution of medical oxygen in Senegal and its neighbouring countries.
The objectives of the ECA pharmaceutical initiative.
The main objective of the pharmaceutical initiative is to address the socio-economic challenges faced by the member countries. To achieve this, the initiative aims to improve access to medicines and other essential maternal, newborn and child health products. It is also considering creating fiscal space for African governments because of the emerging trend of increasing public debt.
Thus, with the implementation of this initiative, Africa will be in a stronger position to meet the twin challenges of the pharmaceutical industry. In the short term, the FTAA should be used as a platform to harmonise national standards. In the long term, the aim will be to pool purchases of medicines and pharmaceutical products through increased investment in pharmaceutical production and exports.
It should be noted that this initiative has already been piloted in 10 African countries. These countries are Ethiopia, Madagascar, Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritius, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan and Seychelles.