William Kwabena Ampofo on Shaping the Agenda of Gavi’s New CEO

William Kwabena Ampofo
June 10, 2024
Janeen Madan Keller and Morgan Pincombe introduce this blog, which is part of CGD’s new virtual forum, “Shaping the Agenda of Gavi’s New CEO.” The forum features a series of expert perspectives, including the response below, and is part of CGD’s broader work on priorities and policy options for Gavi during its 2026–2030 strategic period.

Gavi’s new CEO, Dr. Sania Nishtar, took the helm earlier this year—at a critical time. Gavi is embarking on its new five-year strategy, known as “Gavi 6.0,” and preparing to launch its next replenishment campaign.

To help shape the new CEO’s agenda, CGD invited contributions from experts across governments, civil society organizations, global health initiatives, humanitarian organizations, industry, and academia. We asked these experts to weigh in on key challenges and opportunities for Dr. Nishtar’s leadership.

The response below is from William Kwabena Ampofo, Executive Director, African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative. This response has been edited for clarity and length.

What are the most pressing challenges facing Gavi as it embarks on its next strategic period known as “Gavi 6.0”?

In the post-COVID-19 era of widespread socioeconomic challenges, eligibility criteria and custom-made country transition plans are critical to adequately allocate Gavi financing and support developing countries to maintain immunization coverage, address vaccine hesitancy, and improve health security through sustained access to affordable vaccines

In addition, African countries are very concerned about equitable access to vaccines for routine immunizations and disease outbreaks. Several projects for vaccine manufacturing are underway across the continent, raising significant expectations for local vaccine production support from Gavi’s African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA). AVMA aims to support African vaccine manufacturing to make sustainable contributions to the global vaccine market and develop Africa’s pandemic readiness and outbreak ability.

To achieve sustainable vaccine manufacturing in Africa, African manufacturers must attain cost-effective and competitive production. I consider AVMA to be a critical lever for the continent’s vaccine production objectives and acknowledge the efforts of Gavi, noting the significant momentum shift following Gavi’s AVMA announcement.

What priority actions should be at the top of the new CEO’s agenda to ensure Gavi can deliver on its mission in Gavi 6.0 and beyond?

From the viewpoint of African vaccine manufacturers, one top priority for Dr. Nishtar should be clear, measurable impacts of Gavi’s AVMA on local vaccine manufacturing efforts in the short- to medium-term, such as inclusion of African products in Gavi’s vaccine portfolio.

We in Africa would like to see efforts from Dr. Nishtar to facilitate funding, including direct and indirect investment, and support for technology transfer for African vaccine manufacturers. Advancing local and sustainable production of vaccines in Africa, including through AVMA, will lead to health security and economic benefits for our continent.

African manufacturers currently have no formal representation on Gavi’s board or associated committees. Given Gavi’s publicly stated aim to support African vaccine manufacturing through AVMA, I hope to see a broader range of stakeholders brought in to contribute directly on all issues of relevance to vaccine manufacturing for the continent.

What does success look like for Gavi’s new CEO?

African manufacturers will judge the work of Dr. Nishtar in terms of progress made on efforts to establish local production on the continent—especially to address the major issues of vaccine equity and access. Success will mean that a significant proportion of the vaccines used in Africa are made on the continent within the next ten years—and over the lifespan of AVMA.

In the eyes of Africa, Dr. Nishtar’s success will also depend on strategic vaccine market shaping while simultaneously safeguarding comprehensive immunization coverage and maintaining country commitments and donor support. Achieving these objectives will require parallel efforts to advance equity-based, country-tailored health system strengthening and adapt health service financing policies. These efforts will require careful adjustments as Africa seeks to adopt continental and regional pooled procurement of health commodities, including vaccines. 


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.