Around the Globe: Africa
Stay Tuned: African Medicines Agency Appointing Governing Board and Director General in 2023
David Mukanga
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

he Conference of the States Parties of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) moved effectively in 2022 to make a key decision: selecting the first country to host the AMA. Their recommendation was endorsed by the Executive Council of the African Union in July, and Rwanda was announced as host of AMA in August.

Two more critical milestones are expected in 2023: appointment of the Governing Board (GB) and of the Director General (DG). The GB and DG will be responsible for defining and establishing the initial scope of and procedures for AMA’s regulatory activities. Timelines for this definition and scope will be determined by these two AMA structures.
timeline of meetings for the governing board and director general

I explained the governing structure of the fledgling AMA in a November 2022 podcast interview. Overall, the way the AMA is being structured has been very clearly defined in the AMA treaty. At the very top, you have the Conference of the States Parties (COSP), who are the Ministers of Health of the AMA ratified countries. This is the top policy organ. That’s important because, at this political level, you can mobilize country support and resources. Just below the COSP is a nine-member governing board, of which five are heads of regulatory agencies (selected one each from the five regions) and four other members including one seat from the Africa Union Commission. This body will drive the AMA by setting up the policies, hiring staff, and overseeing AMA operations. But on a day-to-day basis, they will be assisted by a Director General (DG) who will do the day-to-day running of the AMA with a Secretariat.

Below that are the technical committees that will do the work. Those technical committees will be constituted of experts from member states across the continent. Whether those are assessors or inspection technical committees, they will do the standard setting and the actual work.

The African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization initiative has set up many committees over the past several years. The expectation is that some of these committees will transform into committees of the AMA and help the continent, whether by setting standards or by coordinating and doing the work and then making their recommendations to the DG and the Governing Board.

Global Forum will continue to provide updated coverage as more information becomes available.