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Posted July 07, 2003 by publisher in Cuba-World Trade

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The Namibian (Windhoek) | Hugh Ellis And Christof Maletsky

GOVERNMENT says it is committed to the early establishment of a pharmaceutical plant to be set up in co-operation with the Cuban government.

Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Dr Abraham Iyambo said on Friday that Government is speeding up the process.

Iyambo, acting as Foreign Affairs Minister, was speaking at the opening of the ministerial session of the seventh Namibia-Cuba joint commission on scientific, economic, technical, trade and co-operation meeting in the capital.

Cabinet has said it has given a local pharmaceutical company, Zenith Enterprises Inc, the go-ahead to produce anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs at Ondangwa.

On Saturday Cuban Foreign Investment and Economic Co-operation Minister, Marta Lomas Morales said the joint venture represented an investment of N$130 million over the next three years.

Lomas was meeting with Namibian business representatives to encourage trade and investment between the two countries.

The factory will initially produce generic vaccines and drugs for common ailments.

Only in its second phase will it start to produce antibiotics and anti-retrovirals (ARVs) for AIDS treatment.

Julio Cesar Ayala, a Cuban pharmaceutical expert in Namibia to set up the factory, said it could eventually produce up to 500 million tablets, 52 million capsules and five million bottles of oral suspensions a year.

He said the business would also target the Angolan, Botswana and South African markets, among others.

The project should begin production in about 15 months.

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