By Temitope Ponle
Abuja, May 4, 2021 The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth) have signed a partnership to ensure inclusive and sustainable healthcare and economic development in Africa.
In a statement from the commission on Tuesday, the partnership signed was to develop two key initiatives.
They are the Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa (HEGA 2) report and the West Africa African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)-anchored Pharma Initiative. Both initiatives would be jointly executed.
The Executive Secretary, ECA, Vera Songwe said investing in health was a social good and also made 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 dollars by the year 2030, with the potential to create 16 million jobs.
“The pharmaceutical industry alone was estimated to be 60 billion dollars 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.”
Regarding the partnership, Aliko Dangote, Co-Founder of ABCHealth noted that responsible business leaders and philanthropists would have a platform to make sustainable, large scale investments in health that would transform African economies and people.
ABCHealth Chairman, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede expressed confidence in the impact the partnership would 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.”
Also, Mories Atoki, the Chief Executive Officer, ABCHealth said Africa’s health sector was about to experience a significant shift due to the increasing interest that stakeholders in both the private and public sectors showed.
“This is in terms of enhancing health outcomes and improving livelihoods.”
HEGA 2 is a follow-up to the HEGA 1 report which analysed a strategic direction for African countries to better engage with the private health sector to accelerate improvements in health.
The report was inaugurated in February 2019 on the margins of the 32nd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa.
HEGA 2 aims to leverage innovation and extend the focus on building resilient national health systems in a post-COVID-19 era.
The publication will offer robust evidence-based policy solutions to strengthen and build resilient healthcare and health infrastructure on the continent.
Furthermore, 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 mobilising investment and capital to develop domestic production of internationally accepted standards and quality.
By Temitope Ponle