The impact investment company AlphaTalents Africa (ATA), is increasing its support for Pharmakina, one of the main vectors in the fight against malaria in the DRC, a deadly disease affecting tens of millions of Congolese citizens every year.
Headquartered in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, Pharmakina is the only quinine-based antimalarial drug manufacturing plant in Africa, supplying over 10 million antimalarial treatments a year to the domestic market. Pharmakina also manufactures premium quinine salts for the global beverage industry, which are mainly used as an ingredient in the production of sodas.
ATA’s first decision as Pharmakina’s majority shareholder was to appoint a new CEO, Gurpreet Singh Kang, whose mission is to drive the company’s development and execute its ambitious impact program. Mr. Kang was previously CFO of a Nigerian investment group operating in sectors such as food, agribusiness and consumer goods. In February 2023, he moved from Lagos to Bukavu and succeeded outgoing CEO Étienne Erny at the helm of Pharmakina on July 1, following an extended interim period. After more than three and a half decades with Pharmakina, Mr. Erny has been appointed a non-executive member of the company’s Board of Directors and, as such, will continue to actively contribute to Pharmakina’s success.
ATA partner Bastien Maucet explains that one of Pharmakina’s strategic objectives is to obtain global quality certification for the pharmaceutical products manufactured by the Bukavu plant. He points out that only a handful of production sites in Africa possess the advanced certification to which Pharmakina aspires, which would significantly increase market demand for locally manufactured medicines.
The ATA has ambitious plans to develop employment by increasing capacity and promoting locally processed products.
To this end, Mr. Kang met with various authorities in the DRC, including, among others, the Governor of South Kivu Province, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of National Economy.
“The aim is to convince the authorities of the need to support local production. The DRC has this unique asset offered by nature in the form of cinchona, and Pharmakina has all the necessary capacities to transform this raw material in the country. Why should other countries import and transform this raw material outside Africa and send us back the finished products when we have the means to do it ourselves and thus create a considerable impact on the ground? All the authorities we’ve met so far have given us their support and assured us of their collaboration”, notes Mr. Kang.