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.

AU, J&J Sign Deal for 400 Million Doses of Covid-19 Vaccines

Johnson & Johnson, an American pharmaceutical company, has announced that it will begin supplying the African Union (AU) with 400 million doses of its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine in the third quarter.

According to a related announcement, all African Union member states will have access to 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot Covid-19 vaccine through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), which was formed in November 2020.

According to a joint statement released by the African Union, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP), an extra 180 million doses may be requested.

Africa CDC Director, Dr. John Nkengasong, said: “The Africa CDC proposed to the African Union that a minimum of 750 million Africans (60 percent) be immunized if Covid-19 is to be contained. This exchange helps Africa to reach approximately half of the goal. The main feature of this vaccine is that it is a single-dose vaccine, making it easy to roll out rapidly and safely, saving lives.”

President of South Africa, AU Champion for the Covid-19 vaccine plan and purchase, and Chairman of AVATT, Cyril Ramaphosa, accepted the landmark deal, which he initiated jointly with the corporation during his term as AU Chairperson.

“This agreement is a big step toward ensuring the health of all Africans. It is also a strong example of African unity and what we can do by collaboration between the public, private, and foreign sectors that prioritize citizens,” Ramaphosa said.

The vast majority of supplies will be manufactured at Aspen Pharma’s massive pharmaceutical processing facility in South Africa.

Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah stated, “We are extremely honored to have been offered the chance by the African Union to promote this significant transaction under the auspices of the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task(AVATT) Team in the middle of a very tight Covid-19 vaccine market.”

“We look forward to beginning the implementation of the US$2 billion Vaccine Procurement facility approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors to assist the continent in beginning to rid itself of the pandemic and restore its economy as Financial and Transaction Consultants, Guarantors, Installment Payment Facility Arrangers, and Payment Officers.”

Oramah stated that the money would help intra-African trade and that “we have already begun engagement with our financial partners” to obtain additional funding to support procurement if Africa agrees to purchase the additional 180 million doses.

AU countries were invited to place pre-orders for the vaccines prior to the signing of the deal, and “many countries expressed strong preference for this particular vaccine. The majority of countries have already finished their pre-orders,” reads the statement.

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.

Taiwan signs agreement to boost Somaliland’s healthcare

An agreement to develop maternal and child healthcare in the Horn of Africa nation has been signed by Taiwan and Somaliland.

The Taiwan Technical Mission will give support to Somaliland through the Ministry of Health Development in the agreement signed on Tuesday December 1, 2020, to enhance the healthcare capacity of the country through bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

Taiwan would secure a healthcare development budget in Somaliland from the agreement as part of three cooperation projects in which the two countries will participate.

‘According to the aforementioned Framework Agreement on Technical Cooperation and the fact-finding surveys conducted since last February, Taiwan and Somaliland have reached consensus on the implementation of the following three cooperation projects: the collaborative project with the Ministry of Health on Maternal and Infant Health Improvement; the collaborative project with the Ministry of Agriculture Development of Improving Vegetable and Fruits Production and Quality Improvement Project; and the project collaborating with Ministry of Information and Technology of Enhancing the e-Government Capability in Somaliland,” a statement from the Taiwan embassy in Somaliland capital Hargeisa stated.

In the presence of Ambassador Allen C. Lou, Representative of Taiwan in Somaliland, and Hon, a technical office within the Taiwan embassy for the management of projects was opened. Lebanon Yusuf Osman, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Mohammed Abdi Gereye, Director-General of the Ministry of Health Development, Mr Mars Shiue, Head of the Taiwan Technical Mission and officials of the Hargeisa Group Hospital.

The ceremony was a follow-up to Hon’s signing of the Framework Agreement on Technical Cooperation. Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROC (Taiwan) and Hon. Yasin Hagi Mohamoud, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Somaliland, 17 August 2020.

The Taiwan Representative Office in Hargeisa convened a similar virtual conference on 16 November 2020 on the subject of the ‘Maternal and Child Health Care Development Project and exchanging experience in the battle against COVID-19.’

“All these efforts reflect the strong will of Taiwan to improve the healthcare capacity of Somaliland through bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Taiwan Embassy stated in its statement.

“This ceremony is a symbol of the strong will of Taiwan to work with like-minded partners and natural allies to implement Somaliland’s cooperation projects.”

eHealth : Enabler of healthcare revolution in Africa

eHealth is revolutionising healthcare delivery in Africa by offering governments and vendors a way to curb low resource issues and expand the reach and affordability of healthcare. Governments of Kenya, South Africa and Ghana are bolstering the capacity of the healthcare workforce by using mHealth, video telemedicine and healthcare IT.

Notably, Kenya has leapfrogged ahead as local start-ups dominate the digital health market. Establishing partnerships, either through public-private partnerships (PPPs), between two local vendors, or between a local vendor and a key international vendor with a strong global foothold. This would prove to be a game-changer in tapping into upcoming opportunities.

Enabling eHealth Technology in South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana is the new analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s Connected Health Growth Partnership Service program. It covers population health management, health information exchange, hospital cyber security, mobile computing applications in integrated care, business analytics in life sciences, tele-health.

mHealth solutions and video telemedicine are being deployed to create awareness, improve lifestyle, and offer guidance towards better healthcare outcomes. Gradually, eHealth will minimise investment towards hospital bed-strength as more patients receive care within, or close to, their homes without hospital admission.

“The total eHealth market for South Africa, Kenya and Ghana is in a nascent stage with expectations of high long-term growth,” confirmed Transformational Health Research Analyst Aditi Bhalla. “Vendors offering quick and effective healthcare outcomes will gain a tremendous advantage. To enable this, public-private partnerships and integrated businesses will be apt business models.”