The Financialisation of Malaria in Africa: Burkina Faso, rogue capital & GM /gene drive mosquitoes

TWN Info Service on Biosafety
18 May 2022
Third World Network


African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)

The financialisation of malaria in Africa: Burkina Faso, rogue capital & GM /gene drive mosquitoes
28 April 2022

This paper seeks to understand the financialisation of malaria as a vehicle for rogue capital in a context of a weakened state (through capture, corruption and coups) and the power that limits effective interventions. It shows how malaria, along with other diseases, is increasingly financialised – financial markets, institutions, actors and motives play a pivotal role in disease response. Country and donor funds are invested into research and development non-profit organisations, for example, that partner with market actors (such as pharmaceutical companies) to bring the product to market. Patents are sought and royalties procured from the sale of the product to country governments. These royalties are then accumulated by the research and development company, using vehicles such as endowment funds, for example. 

It show cases Burkina Faso as a real-world example of how rogue capital can enter a country and experiment with patented products, with impunity and no fear of accountability. It also illustrates how both historical and modern factors create conducive conditions for philanthrocapitalists such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the companies they fund, to exploit Africa as a living laboratory. The outcomes of risky experimental research such as genetically modified (GM) and gene drive mosquitoes is not yet known. What is known is that it is Africans who bear the consequences – not the owners of the technologies foisted on the continent.

The paper is accompanied by three fact sheets: 

What you need to know about Malaria

What drives malaria?

False solutions to the malaria challenge in Africa

We call upon African citizens to demand the decolonisation of public health and propose sovereign solutions that will serve their priorities. We must demand that governments direct funding to where it is really needed: the public healthcare system, sanitation, access to clean water and improved housing. We must vehemently contest and ward off increased privatisation of the health sector. Radical policy interventions are also needed that address historical divestments in health and enable recovery.

Read the briefing paper here.

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