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African solutions key to end "AIDS dependency crisis"

(Xinhua)

13:14, January 29, 2012

ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe called on African governments to take a greater share of AIDS investments here on Saturday, on the sidelines of the 18th ordinary summit of the African Union (AU) .

Sidibe said that financing a sustainable response to the HIV epidemic in Africa will require home-grown, innovative solutions that meet the needs of the people in their own countries and across the region, addressing an audience of heads of state and government attending the summit.

An estimated two-thirds of AIDS expenditures in Africa come from international funding sources, according to a new UNAIDS issues brief titled "AIDS dependency crisis: sourcing African solutions". And the vast majority of life-saving antiretroviral medicines consumed in Africa are imported from generic manufacturers.

According to the UNAIDS executive director, it is time for a new development paradigm that is developed and owned by the leaders of Africa.

Sidibe said a single African Medicines Regulatory Agency could expedite the roll-out of quality-assured HIV drugs. Meanwhile the development of centers of excellence in Africa could catalyze the local production of high-quality HIV medicines and build Africa's knowledge-based economy.

Ibrahim Mayaki, chief executive officer of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), also talked about the issue alongside Sidibe at the press conference. He said reaching the 10 targets in the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS would only be possible through increased investment in the HIV response by African countries.

UNAIDS estimates that Africa will require about 12 billion U. S. dollars for its AIDS response by 2015, which is 3 billion dollars to 4 billion dollars more than the current expenditure.

"Increased investments are needed from both African and high-income countries," said Mr Sidibé."External aid is not going to disappear and African governments must negotiate more predictable, sustainable HIV investments from international partners," he added.

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