Pandemic preparedness beyond COVID-19

Investing in vaccines production and supply for LMICs
Session Type
Background Documents
3 March 2021
13:00 - 15:00 Europe/Zurich

The satellite event on “Pandemic preparedness beyond COVID-19: Investing in vaccines production and supply for LMICs” is jointly organized by UNCTAD and WHO. The event brings together global strategic players and decision makers in vaccine manufacturing, investment, and technology. The objective of the event is to build a coalition of stakeholders to promote long-term investment in vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing countries beyond COVID-19-related vaccines.

Strategic coordination is the way forward to building vaccine production capacity in LMICs

Key global and strategic players came together during a satellite event of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum to discuss the objective and the means of achieving vaccine production capability in LMICs. Panelists and facilitators underscored the technological, financial and market complexities of vaccine production. Yet, to a large extent, they pointed out the potential to overcome the challenges by coordinating efforts and strategic partnerships among manufacturers, investors, technology developers and facilitators, development partners and governments and by prioritizing regional and other approaches that respond to the conditions in LMICs and address the sustainability of investment.

Key messages 

The current pandemic has highlighted the exposure of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to global vaccine supply shortages, despite efforts by the industry to increase manufacturing capacity, including in large developing countries. This challenge extends well beyond COVID-19. Routine vaccination programs need to be maintained in LMICs to avoid increased mortality especially among children. Building productive capacity in developing countries for vaccines beyond COVID-19 could make an important contribution to equitable access and pandemic preparedness in LMICs. Increased global cooperation is essential to achieve this goal.

UNCTAD in partnership with WHO intends to build a coalition of stakeholders to promote long-term investment in vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing countries beyond COVID-19-related vaccines. In preparation of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in October 2021, the discussion at this event will focus on the following question:

Can long-term availability and supply of vaccines be improved by investing in additional local production capacity in LMICs?

  • Who can be expected to invest in additional capacity?
  • What incentives and mechanisms are necessary to de-risk and make the investment sustainable?
  • How can international support and partnership for scaling up productive capacity be promoted?

The results of this discussion will feed into UNCTAD policy recommendations and technical cooperation activities for LMICs, under the aegis of UNCTAD’s new Invest in Health Initiative. The Initiative seeks to untap the potential of foreign investment in LMICs’ health care value chain, targeting inter alia local productive capacities for drugs and vaccines. The event thereby links into SDG 3, Target 3(b) (access to essential medicines and vaccines), SDG 9, Target 9(b) (domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries) and SDG 17, Targets 17.16 and 17.17 (international cooperation and partnerships).

This digital satellite event intends to turn previous policy declarations into action, especially the Interagency Statement on Promoting Local Production of Medicines and Other Health Technologies adopted by WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, UNICEF, UNAIDS and the Global Fund in 2019, as well as on the 2016 Nairobi Statement on Investment in Access to Medicines, adopted at the WIF 2016 by UNCTAD, UNAIDS, the African Union Commission, and the governments of Kenya and South Africa.

Roundtable discussion: How to promote long-term investment in vaccine manufacturing capacity in LMICs beyond COVID-19

  • Government and policymakers
  • Vaccine manufacturers
  • Development finance institutions and investors
  • Providers of technology and know-how


Director, Investment and Enterprise Division, UNCTAD
Assistant Director General for Access to Medicines and Health Products Division, World Health Organization
Director, National Vaccine Institute, Thailand
Director, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Executive Director, Serum Institute of India (SII)
Administrateur Général, Fondation Institut Pasteur de Dakar
Executive Director, African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative (AVMI)
Director, Industrial and Trade Development Department, African Development Bank (AfDB)
Managing Director, Lion’s Head Global Partners
Sustainable Manufacturing Lead, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
Senior Specialist, Life Sciences, International Finance Corporation
Deputy Director, CMC Vaccines Development and Surveillance, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Director Middle East and Africa, Merck KGaA, Germany
Chief Investment Officer, Univercells
Department of Biochemical Engineering, University College London / Penny Carmichael, Policy Advisor, The Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (Vax-Hub)


Officer-in-Charge, Intellectual Property Unit, UNCTAD
Unit Head, Local Production & Assistance Unit, Regulation and Prequalification Department, Access to Medicines and Health Products Division, WHO