Supply chain experts representing organisations from across the African continent are collaborating to launch an African Supply Chain Think Tank. The think tank aims to strengthen African health supply chains while maintaining its independence and creating a platform for supply chain experts from across the continent to advocate with one voice for the African people.
Pamela Steele Associates Ltd (PSA) is currently providing a virtual space for supply chain experts to initiate the innovative Supply Chain Think Tank. Although other think tanks exist in Africa, this will be the first that focuses specifically on supply chains. Further, and crucially, this think tank will function independently and maintain autonomy in the projects that it will undertake, engaging with governments, donors, and the private sector, among others. In this way, the initiative will build African supply chain capacity from within Africa.
Cross-country collaboration is paramount for the think tank, which will provide a forum for experts from across Africa, platforming the voices of those who are most familiar with the local context, available resources, and existing challenges. In addition, the Supply Chain Think Tank will provide a space for partnerships within countries, between countries, and across sectors to create solutions for cross-cutting issues. The founders of the think tank anticipate numerous benefits, including the initiative’s critical position between policy and academia. Yet, the think tank’s goal is to leverage the expertise of key decision-makers to induce change on the ground. As Dr Lloyd Matowe, who served as chair of the August 13th meeting, said, ‘a think tank speaks without favour, without fear, and in the interest of outputs.’
Those at the meeting agreed that such an initiative is long overdue. Indeed, the timing of the think tank’s launch is critical given the strain the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on supply chains across the world and in Africa in particular. The pandemic, which exposed weaknesses in the supply chain, provides a unique opportunity to build a resilient system for the future. The coming months will undoubtedly result in increased investment in Africa as donors seek to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. The African Supply Chain Think Tank will centre the expertise of Africans to strengthen health supply chains from the ground up.
Pamela Steele Associates (PSA) specialises in supply chain transformation for public health and humanitarian sectors through consultancy, research and training.
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