Africa sees a $1.3 billion increase in healthcare investments

Africa’s healthcare faces many problems, ranging from inadequate infrastructure to a shortage of funding, but technology is changing healthcare delivery in the continent.

It is critical that Africa’s rapidly expanding young population, which is expected to be the world’s largest workforce by 2040, has access to high-quality healthcare in order to reap the rewards of this generational dividend.

For prospective buyers, these challenges offer a plethora of business opportunities. In Africa, the private sector is becoming increasingly significant in funding healthcare.

The healthcare sector in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown significantly in the last two decades, according to an AVCA survey. Between 2015 and 2020, 97 private equity (PE) and venture capitalist (VC) investments totaling US$1.3 billion were made in Africa’s healthcare sector.

Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, and Ghana are the top five countries in terms of the number of PE and VC fund contributions in healthcare in Africa between 2015 and 2020. Deals in the healthcare market accounted for 8% of overall transaction value in 2019 and 2020, demonstrating investors’ continuing commitment to closing the continent’s healthcare gap.

In 2020, Africa’s share of total reported deal value rose to 16% of total reported deal value, up from 3% in 2019. The overall amount of final closed PE & VC funds in Africa between 2015 and 2020 was US$18.1 billion. Half of this came from funds with healthcare as a focused industry in their investment mandate.

Nearly half of all healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa is provided by the private sector, and nearly 60% of the continent’s healthcare funding is provided by private sources.

When asked why healthcare investment is growing in Africa, Ugo Iwuchukwu, Brands and contact manager at Helium Health, said, “The situation with the latest investments into African healthcare is a melting pot of a lot of things.” For starters, it was unavoidable. Healthcare is an industry that concerns everybody, and it lags behind contemporary sectors like banking and even telecommunications in terms of technological advancement. Consider how you can make almost any trade online, but you can not do any healthcare operation online. As a result, it has always been a position where value could be added by all stakeholders.

“Second, the pandemic unintentionally shone a spotlight on the state of global healthcare, demonstrating what people like Helium have been saying: there is a lot of work to be done to develop not only Nigeria, but the whole global healthcare sector. As a result, what was already simmering prior to the pandemic gains traction.”

As more players come on board and technology is gradually being used to solve numerous healthcare issues around the continent, digital technology is becoming more prevalent in Africa’s healthcare market.

While investment in the healthtech sector is still in its infancy relative to other sectors such as fintech, the race has obviously started, and it will only be a matter of time before we see the fintech sector’s progress mirrored in healthcare across Africa.

Nigeria gets $18.2m from Japan to boost the health-care system

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba announced that Nigeria has obtained a $18.2 million grant from Japan to improve its health sector. During his visit to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), he disclosed this knowledge.

He claimed that his visit was to evaluate the utilization of the N49 billion investment fund allocated by the federal government to 52 federal health institutions in the region, disclosing that the Japanese assistance will take the form of medical equipment and capacity building for medical staff.

According to the Minister, this assistance is made possible by President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 visit to the Japanese Prime Minister.

Mr Clem Agba said, “I just wanted to let you know that the Irrua Specialist Hospital and the UBTH, both in Edo, are among the seven beneficiaries of this grant.

“We also collaborate with USAID, and I signed agreements with them in which they provided us with 200 ventilators, of which I am aware that Irrua Specialist Hospital received three and the UBTH received three from the 200 ventilators that we distributed across the country,” he added.

The Minister stated that one of the COVID-19 revelations was the weakness of the Nigerian health system, which is why the FG graciously approved the N49 billion investment fund for 52 federal medical centers and teaching hospitals across the country.

He clarified that the fund was intended to help develop facilities in the sector in order to maintain the country’s health system’s stability.

Agba stated that the funds were set aside for the construction of molecular laboratories, as well as the provision of a minimum of ten bedded Intensive Care Units (ICU); isolation center appliances and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs); among others, in the 52 health establishments.

“This meant that each of the centers received approximately N950 million to buy the required facilities; as well as PPE for their labs, isolation centers, and ICUs,” he added.

Árgentil Capital Partners Invests in Nigeria’s healthcare industry

Árgentil Capital Management Limited, a boutique investment banking company, confirmed its equity investment in Sygen Pharmaceuticals Limited, which, along with other co-investors, was structured through the investment vehicle of the backers, Market Growth Partners.

Àrgentil has engaged in a management team-based transaction with a clear track record of over 155 years of directing and controlling FMCG businesses’ activities in Nigeria and other developing markets.

Companies such as Sygen, which can offer quality, inexpensive medicines to a wide domestic market, continue to have substantial growth opportunities in the healthcare and consumer sectors.

Àrgentil is actively invested in small and medium-sized companies through the Àrgentil Principal Investment Portfolio II (APIP II), which has so far completed five investments.

Investments from APIP II have won award recognition, including the Private Equity Africa 2019 Deal of the Year (Small Cap) award, and many of our investors have had a major positive impact on the existing COVID-19 climate.

Àrgentil is now widening its investment focus to include core West African countries through the US$95m Àrgentil SME Investment Fund (ASIF).

ASIF will invest in core development sectors such as Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Technology and Energy. The initial national priority of ASIF will include Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Àrgentil also makes direct contributions from its balance sheet to fund management teams or to sponsor emerging companies looking to develop networks that can expand over time to adopt key sectors’ development strategies.

Sygen is an indigenous pharmaceutical business that was founded in 2019 to purchase Nigerian German Chemicals’ main operating properties (NGC). NGC remained a well-known brand in Nigeria prior to its takeover, with operations lasting over 50 years.

Sygen manufactures and distributes prescription products under the brand name NGC targeting the segments of Analgesic, Anti-Diabetics, Antifungal, Anti-spasmodic, Cough narcotics and Hematinic medications.

The business also supplies drinks and bottled water. The business runs a warehouse in the state of Ogun, southwestern Nigeria, and eight depots nationwide.

The mission of Sygen is to create a leading pharmaceutical organisation based on the manufacture and delivery of inexpensive, high-quality medicines that are easily available and readily accessible to the economy’s middle and lower-income community.