President William Ruto on Thursday announced the construction of a $500 million (an equivalent of Sh65.7 billion) facility that will manufacture Moderna vaccine in Nairobi.

Ruto, who was speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Business Summit in Nairobi, announced that Kenya government had finalised the deal with Moderna.

He noted that the significant vaccine manufacturing facility will be the first by the American pharmaceutical company in Africa and outside of the US.

“It is with pleasure that I announce a finalised deal between Moderna and the Government of Kenya to build a $500 million mRNA vaccine facility in Nairobi area,” said Ruto.

He added, “This will be the only such facility on the African continent and, for Moderna, their first factory outside the United States.”

The Head of State intimated that the establishment of the factory will fast track the development of the pharmaceutical sector in the country going into the future.

“Moderna’s investment will be a catalyst for the medical and pharmaceutical industry in Africa. This is historic. This is big. This is my administration’s vision for the future of Kenya,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in early 2022 oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Kenya Government and Moderna to establish the facility.

Witnessing the MOU signing at State House Nairobi on March 7, 2022, Uhuru said the state-of-the-art mRNA facility targeted to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines each year.

He revealed that the facility would focus on drug substance manufacturing in Africa with the intention of expanding to include fill/finish and packaging capabilities at the site.

“We are pleased to partner with Moderna in the establishment of this mRNA manufacturing facility to help prepare the country and our sister states on the continent through the African Union to respond to future health crises and stave off the next pandemic,” he said then.

Moderna Inc is a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and focuses on RNA therapeutics, primarily mRNA vaccines.