Healthcare Projects worth $140 million on the table in West, East Africa

During a virtual investor roundtable, members of the Africa Investment Forum team showed two projects as the continent strives to enhance its healthcare industry and attract much-needed investment in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The projects, which are valued around $140 million and are located in East and West Africa, were showcased for possible investors.

The first chance, with a project cost of $96 million, is for the establishment of a 250-bed specialized hospital delivering world-class healthcare services in a West African country. The land has been obtained and feasibility assessments have been conducted.

The second involves the development of a $45 million WHO-prequalified vaccine manufacturing factory in East Africa, which will be capable of producing three vaccines on a regular basis, including Covid-19.

Following the talks, a panel of investors shared their perspectives on investing in Africa’s healthcare industry. The panelists included Rhulani Nhlaniki, Pfizer’s Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster Lead; Jean-Philippe Syed, Principal at private equity firm Development Partners International; Afsane Jetha, Managing Partner & CEO at private equity firm Alta Semper Capital; Stavros Nicolaou, Aspen Pharmacare’s Senior Executive – Strategic Trade; and Dr. Dumani Kula, Evercare Group’s Chief Operating Officer for Africa. Aubrey Hruby, Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, moderated the discussion.

According to Nicolaou, the fact that Africa has the largest illness load of any continent makes preventative treatment, including vaccinations, all the more crucial for Africans. The increased demand for medicines will need the formation of partnerships capable of overcoming obstacles such as research and development.

Other difficulties raised by attendees included overcoming cold chain and last-mile delivery issues, as well as approaches to scale up experimental technologies such as the use of drones to aid vaccination distribution.

The Africa Investment Forum’s Unified Response to Covid-19 pillars include health as one of five priority investment areas. Agribusiness, energy and climate change, ICT/Telecoms, and industrialisation and commerce are the others.

Last week, Africa Investment Forum Senior Director Chinelo Anohu mentioned the East Africa vaccine facility idea in the context of Africa’s present restricted access to Covid-19 vaccinations at a panel discussion hosted by the University of Edinburgh. Anohu believes that the continent may prevent vaccination inequities through trade and investment, particularly in its pharmaceutical industry.

UK Export Finance invests in Six Hospitals Project in Africa

The UK’s export credit agency has granted its largest-ever loan to West Africa to encourage UK exports. UK Export Finance (UKEF) has agreed to lend EUR 241 million to NMS Infrastructure, a Sub-Saharan African infrastructure project developer.

The dual-tranche facility will assist NMS Infrastructure in the development of six hospitals under an export contract with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene of Côte d’Ivoire. The total project, at EUR 326 million, is for the design, construction, and equipment of six hospitals in Bouaké, Boundiali, Katiola, Kouto, Minignan, and Ouangolodougou.

It is envisaged that the project would provide equipped and contemporary healthcare locations that will serve over a million local inhabitants.

The funding arrangement makes use of both buyer credit and direct loans to the government of Côte d’Ivoire.

The development of the project has already commenced, with completion expected for 2024.

GKB Ventures, a boutique consultancy firm designated consultants to the Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, led a tender process for the project’s funding, together with an international loan syndicate.

MUFG Bank was named preferred lender and mandated lead arranger for the project’s finance after the bidding procedure ended.

The borrower’s legal adviser on the project was KSK Société d’Avocats, a law company in Abidjan, with Ashurst acting as legal advice to the lenders.

This project is a high priority for the government of Côte d’Ivoire, and procuring a commercial credit prior to the facility granted by UKEF “allowed the project to move quickly,” UKEF noted in a news statement on 5 August.

UKEF has allocated GBP 2 billion to new business support in Côte d’Ivoire.

HM Trade Commissioner for Africa Emma Wade-Smith said in a statement, “This record-breaking UKEF facility in West Africa underlines the UK government’s strong commitment to promoting sustainable economic growth throughout the African continent.”

Wade-Smith also stated that the loan “further illustrates the positive impact that UK businesses are having in Africa, working in collaboration with governments and the private sector to foster growth, investment, and job creation.” It also highlights the tremendous range of opportunities we see for UK firms wanting to grow and expand into new African markets.”

HM Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, HE Catherine Brooker, added that the project is critical for modernizing the country’s healthcare facilities, saying, “Thanks to the UK government’s support, through UKEF, UK companies are ideally placed to support infrastructure development in West Africa and seize the huge export potential that brings.”