Press release

African Union adopts new roadmap to accelerate progress in HIV, TB and malaria responses

AU and NEPAD Agency take the lead in transforming the face of health responses in Africa

ADDIS ABABA, 16 July 2012—A roadmap adopted today by African Heads of State and Government charts a new course for the continent’s responses to AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Developed by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency), with support from UNAIDS, the Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity was endorsed at the 19th Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“This Roadmap provides a major step forward in our responses to AIDS, TB and malaria,” said Dr Thomas Yayi Boni, Chairperson of African Union and President of Benin. “Through it, we will pursue African solutions reflecting our continent’s dynamism and potential—like local pharmaceutical production. Together we will invest in the future.”  

Structured around three strategic pillars—health governance, diversified financing and access to medicines—the Roadmap offers a set of practical and African-owned solutions to enhance sustainable responses to AIDS, TB and malaria. It defines goals, expected results, roles and responsibilities to hold stakeholders accountable over a three-year time frame, through 2015.

“This Roadmap will act as a driving force for Africa-owned solutions,” said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Agency. “Together we must support African leaders to implement it—that means new partnerships, new financing arrangements and new ways to strengthen sustainable African institutions.”

Health governance

The Roadmap emphasizes the importance of robust policy, oversight and accountability frameworks for investments in AIDS, TB and malaria. AIDS Watch Africa—an African advocacy and accountability initiative—will play a key role in measuring progress and holding national, regional, continental and global stakeholders accountable to their commitments on AIDS, TB and malaria.

“AIDS Watch Africa’s vision of shared responsibility and global solidarity marks a radical departure from business as usual,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. “I urge all African leaders to urgently take the Roadmap forward and all development partners to get behind these African efforts in the spirit of solidarity and mutual accountability.”

Diversified financing

According to UNAIDS estimates, Africa will require an annual investment of US$ 11-12 billion for its AIDS response in 2015; that same year, the expected funding gap is US$ 3-4 billion. Similarly, resources available for the continent’s TB and malaria responses fall far short of need.

The Roadmap calls on African governments and development partners to fill these funding gaps together, investing their “fair share” based on ability and prior commitments. Countries are encouraged to develop financially viable national plans with clear targets. Development partners are asked to provide long-term, predictable resources and to align their commitments with African priorities.

"Effective fund mobilization and disbursement are critical for our response," said Mr Idriss Déby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad. “This Roadmap should be a roadmap for each Head of State. We must consider this an opportunity to change our approach not just to AIDS but to the development of our Continent.”

Access to medicines

Many African countries depend on external sources to provide life-saving medicines for their populations. In the case of AIDS, more than 80% of HIV drugs dispensed in Africa are imported. A vast majority of HIV medicines keeping Africans alive are paid for through external aid.

The Roadmap establishes a set of priority actions to accelerate access to affordable and quality-assured medicines in Africa. These include: strengthening African drug regulatory systems; ensuring that countries in Africa acquire essential health-related technologies and commodities through South-South cooperation; and removing trade barriers to allow for the emergence of pharmaceutical production hubs within Africa that can serve regional markets.

AU Chair calls for side event on AIDS and shared responsibility

During the Summit of the African Union, Dr Yayi Boni called on African leaders to hold a high-level side event at the September 2012 UN General Assembly focused on AIDS and shared responsibility. Such an event would offer a unique opportunity to present the Roadmap to the global community, he said.