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Merck agrees African digital cooperation deal

Will collaborate with Germany's GIZ on new solutions for the continent

Merck GIZ Beckmann Nooke Beier
Pictured from left: Kai Beckmann, Günter Nooke and Christoph Beier

Merck's efforts to make more use of digital technology in Africa, an area of strategic importance for the firm, have taken a step forward.

The German pharma firm has agreed the basis for a new 'innovation and digitalisation' collaboration with the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit).

One of the focus areas of the partners' newly-signed letter of intent is access to health and the agreement adds to Merck's digital health accelerator work on the continent.

At the signing, Kai Beckmann, member of the Merck executive board and chief administration officer, said: “Our common goal is to work with German and local partners to develop and implement digital models in Africa

“Among other things, we are aiming to better interlink patients, physicians, medical professionals, and scientists with one another and to improve their access to relevant information.”

The signing followed a three-day 'Lab of Tomorrow' workshop, which was held at the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt, and aimed to enable cooperation with experts from a developing country on solutions to that country's problems. 

Based in Bonn and Eschborn, near Frankfurt am Main, the GIZ assists the German government and other partners on international cooperation and sustainable development.

Christoph Beier, management board member of GIZ, said: “We want to boost innovative strength in Africa through collaboration. 

“This also includes conducting further 'Lab of Tomorrow' workshops in the pharmacy field. Working with German companies such as Merck makes it easier to achieve development objectives globally. Partnerships such as this one are tremendously important to us.” 

Also at the signing ceremony was Günter Nooke, commissioner for Africa within the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the German Chancellor's personal representative for Africa.

Commenting on the plans he said: “With our strategic partnership for a digital Africa, we want to bring German and European companies together with German development policy experts. 

“There is a great deal of common ground between our interests, those of companies and our partner countries. Together, we can achieve better and more sustainable results.” 

For Merck Africa is of strategic importance and the company hopes to increase its sales on the continent to €500 million by 2020.

23rd May 2016

From: Healthcare

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