By Our Correspondent
Africa’s health sector is about to experience a significant boost following a partnership arrangement between the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth) and the United Nations Economic for Africa (ECA).
The initiatives, which the partnership entered into by the two organisations will develop and jointly execute are the Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa (HEGA 2) report, and African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA)-anchored Pharma Initiative.
Speaking on the partnership, co-founder of ABCHealth, Aliko Dangote, notes that “With the coalition that ABCHealth is building across the continent, responsible business leaders and philanthropists will have a platform that enables them make sustainable, large scale investments in health that transform African economies and people.”
Chairman, ABCHealth, AigbojeAig-Imoukhuede, says, “We are confident of the impact this partnership will bring to bear on the continent. It is our firm belief that with the public and private sectors working together, combining political will with business knowledge, Africa’s health sector can be built to the point where it will deliver affordable health to Africans in an equitable manner.”
ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, on the other hand, states that “Investing in health is not just a social good, it also makes a good business case. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, business opportunities in the healthcare and wellness sector in Africa were estimated to be $259 billion by the year 2030, with the potential to create 16 million jobs.
“The pharmaceutical industry alone was estimated to be $60 billion in 2020 and is still growing.
The AfCFTA-anchored Pharma Initiative represents lucrative private sector investment and innovation opportunities that will change lives, reduce poverty and contribute to Africa’s inclusive and sustainable economic development.”
On her part, CEO of ABCHealth, Mories Atoki, says, “Africa’s health sector is about to experience a significant shift due to the increasing interest that critical stakeholders in both the private and public sectors are showing in terms of enhancing health outcomes and improving livelihoods.”
The partnership, according to ABCHealth and ECA, will drive two primary initiatives, first, to leverage innovation to build resilient national health systems in a post-COVID-19 pandemic and the other; provide the blueprint for the local production of drugs and medical equipment across West Africa.
In a statement released and signed by the two organisations, the partners said it is becoming clearer, especially with the outbreak of COVID-19 that more private sector involvement is required to support government’s efforts on health.
The statement states that the Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa (HEGA 2) will offer robust evidence-based policy solutions to strengthen and build resilient healthcare and health infrastructure on the continent.
It further states that HEGA 2 report is a follow up to the HEGA 1 report which ‘analyzed a strategic direction for African countries to better engage with the private health sector to accelerate improvements in health’, in addition to examining Africa’s healthcare challenges and highlighted opportunities for the private sector. The report was launched in February 2019 on the margins of the 32nd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa.
The partnership, according to the two organisations, is premised on the belief that every African has an undeniable right to quality, accessible and affordable healthcare, noting the relationship between health and economic growth has been effectively demonstrated by the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now clear that more private sector involvement is required to support government’s efforts on health.
The other initiative, which is the West Africa AFCFTA-anchored Pharma Initiative is the blueprint for the local production of drugs and medical equipment across West Africa. The initiative focuses on strengthening the supply side of West Africa’s health sector by mobilizing investment and capital to develop domestic production of internationally accepted standards and quality.
This initiative, according to ABCHealth and ECA, is an extension of the work that ECA conducted in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and selected countries, which involved advocacy for local production of maternal and child care medicines; pooled procurement of same; and ensuring regulatory harmonisation and quality standards of medicines and products.