The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth) have signed a partnership to develop two key initiatives namely (i) the Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa (HEGA 2) report; and (ii) the West Africa ‘African Continental Free Trade Area’ (AfCFTA)-anchored Pharma Initiative. Both initiatives will be jointly executed.
The partnership between the two organizations is premised on the belief that every African has an undeniable right to quality, accessible and affordable healthcare. The relationship between health and economic growth has been effectively demonstrated by the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is now clear that more private sector involvement is required to support governments’ efforts on health.
The Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa (HEGA 2) is a follow up to the HEGA 1 report which analyzed a strategic direction for African countries to better engage with the private health sector to accelerate improvements in health. It examined Africa’s healthcare challenges and highlighted opportunities for the private sector. The report was launched in February 2019 on the margins of the 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.
The 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 mobilizing investment and capital to develop domestic production of internationally accepted standards and quality. This initiative is an extension of the work that ECA conducted in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and selected countries, which involved advocacy for local production of maternal and child care medicines; pooled procurement of same; and ensuring regulatory harmonization and quality standards of medicines and products.
Regarding this partnership, Aliko Dangote, Co-Founder of ABCHealth, noted that “With the coalition that ABCHealth is building across the continent, responsible business leaders and philanthropists will have a platform that enables them make sustainable, large scale investments in health that transform African economies and people.”
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, ABCHealth Chairman, stated: “We are confident of the impact this partnership will 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.”
Vera Songwe, ECA Executive Secretary, stated: “Investing in health is not just a social good, it also makes a good business case. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, business opportunities in the health-care and wellness sector in Africa were estimated to be $259 billion by the year 2030, with the potential to create 16 million jobs. The pharmaceutical industry alone was estimated to be US$60 billion 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.”
Mories Atoki, CEO of ABCHealth said; “Africa’s health sector is about to experience a significant shift due to the increasing interest that critical stakeholders in both the private and public sectors are showing in terms of enhancing health outcomes and improving livelihoods.”
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ABCHealth is a coalition of businesses, philanthropists and development institutions that collectively seek greater private sector contribution towards Africa’s health needs at national, regional and continental levels.
The Coalition will develop and deploy impactful health programs across Africa, deepen knowledge, building evidence for future investments and strengthen coordination among African business leaders, companies, philanthropists and global business networks for coordinated action on health.
Aliko Dangote is Chairman and President of Dangote Industries Limited, and Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation through which he Co-Founded ABCHealth.
Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede is Co-Founder and Chairman, ABCHealth & Founder and Chairman, Coronation Capital Limited.
Mories Atoki is the Chief Executive Officer of ABCHealth.
Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, ECA’s mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
Made up of 54 member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.
ECA’s strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and sub-regional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Africa’s priorities.
Vera Songwe is the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the ECA.