GSK announces $216 million investment to support and improve African healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline announced on Monday that will invest approximately $216 million and partner with African countries to stimulate more research on chronic diseases, increase medicine storage capability and strengthen health-care systems.

GSK CEO Andrew Witty made the announcement during his speech at the 5th EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels.

"Today, we are setting out further steps to tackle Africa's dual health burden of infectious and emerging non-communicable diseases and help build crucial capacity to underpin the development of the healthcare sector in the region," Witty said. "We have a unique opportunity to deliver meaningful social and economic value to all of the communities we work in - using our scientific expertise and our global reach to develop innovative medicines and deliver them to people who need them around the world."

GSK said it would make investments up to approximately $216 million during the next five years in Africa, which will create at least 500 jobs and contribute to increasing capabilities and skills in Africa.

"With global attention focused on how we support development beyond 2015, now is the moment for business to play a more active role in contributing to a more prosperous future in Africa, investing in infrastructure, building skills and capability to unlock human potential and create jobs," Witty said. "Our long-term goal is to equip Africa to discover, develop and produce the medicines required for Africa."

GSK said part of its investment will go toward world's first R&D Open Lab for non-communicable diseases in Africa. The new lab will provide a place for GSK scientists to collaborate with research centers in Africa to study local NCD variations and directly support and train African researchers and scientists.

Other portions of GSK's investment will expand medicine manufacturing in Nigeria and Kenya and build five new African factories. GSK will work to tailor its pharmaceutical portfolio for NCDs and develop new products to meet specific needs in Africa. GSK will also increase support for health worker training by partnering with charities to train and upskill 10,000 community healthcare workers in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.