In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, states and countries battled each other for scarce medical supplies in what governors and executives called a high-seas black market, exposing the woeful inadequacy of the global supply chain. At the same time, a Zimbabwean billionaire and logistics experts from across the continent built what has become a one-stop shop for African nations and medical facilities in the market for everything from personal protective equipment to diagnostic test kits, ventilators and even vaccines. "My job was to figure out how to make sure 55 countries got access to a desperately needed resource which was in extremely short supply," said Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean telecom magnate who was named the African Union's special envoy on supply chains. ADVERTISEMENT Less than a year after its inception, the African Medical Supplies Platform hosts more than 600 suppliers selling products that can help combat the coronavirus through an interface that is no more complicated than Amazon.com. Access is limited to countries, health systems, nongovernmental organizations and donor organizations like UNICEF. Middlemen are not welcome. Those involved in the product's development and those who have watched its early operations say it could become a model for the… Read full this story
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