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.

African Women

$20-Million Women’s Health Initiative Kicks Off With Training In Nairobi

By the end of 2015, roughly 99% of the world’s maternal deaths had occurred in developing regions with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for two-thirds of that number. Added to this alarming statistic is the fact that the risk of a child dying before reaching five years of age is seven times higher in Africa tha in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.

The need to improve the quality, access and affordability of healthcare around the world presents a challenge that GE sees as an opportunity to make lasting changes with initiatives such as the Healthymagination Mother and Child Programme. This initiative was launched by GE and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship in March to accelerate much-needed medical innovations in nine African countries. The primary objective of the $20-million joint venture is to address maternal and child mortality by supporting social entrepreneurs operating in the health sector across Sub-Sahara Africa.

After a rigorous evaluation process, 17 social entrepreneurs from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda were selected to participate in the programme’s first cohort. The candidates attended a three-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, where senior Miller Center mentors and GE business leaders trained them on business fundamentals to improve their strategic thought processes, and to develop business plans that demonstrate growth as well as long-term financial sustainability.

Organisations, which were considered for the programme, met the following criteria:

– had been in operation in Sub-Saharan Africa for a minimum of three years,

– were involved in delivering healthcare services to mothers and children,

– had experience in distribution, training, use and maintenance of medical equipment for pregnant women or children,

– developed products or technologies that improved knowledge and/or access to care, such as telemedicine, mobile technologies, data analysis or image interpretation,

– provided infrastructure services or facilities associated with needs arising from pregnancy to paediatric care, and

– were for-profit, non-profit, or hybrid enterprises.

This training and mentoring program combines Silicon Valley entrepreneurial principles with the Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) methodology, which has been refined through 12 years of working with more than 570 social enterprises worldwide.

The overall goal of the programme is to ensure that women have access to high-quality health services during pregnancy and childbirth by addressing problems such as the availability of screening tools as well as potentially fatal conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension.

“Social innovations and entrepreneurs in the health sector have in recent years yielded sustainable solutions to some of the world’s biggest health challenges,” said Jay Ireland, GE Africa president and CEO.

“It is for this reason that the healthymagination Mother and Child Programme is focusing on training and mentoring social entrepreneurs working on increasing the quality, access and affordability of maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa, thereby enabling more women and children to experience better health,” said Ireland.

A six-month online accelerator programme follows the initial workshop where Silicon Valley-based executives — who have also completed rigorous mentorship training with Miller Center — coach the entrepreneurs on developing an action plan, operational and social impact metrics, a presentation deck for investors, and an investment summary document.The programme will culminate in February 2017 with a premier pitch event in Africa where the 17 participants will present their respective enterprises to an audience of potential investors.