Private Sector Leaders Partner with UN Economic Commission in Renewed Push to Develop Africa’s Healthcare Sector

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Private sector leaders, including the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), have made a renewed push to help develop the continent’s healthcare industry.

The organizations jointly held the inaugural edition of an event dubbed the ‘Africa Business: Health Forum’ on the margins of the 32nd African Union Summit this month.

The event brought together leaders from government and business with a strong appeal for greater collaboration between the private and the public sector on health outcomes.

The move garnered commitments from public sector leaders including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed; the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi; and the President of Djibouti, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh as well as business leaders present, to change drastically health outcomes in Africa.

The Forum saw the launch of the African Business Coalition for Health (ABCHealth), a private sector-led coalition of companies and philanthropists who will come together to positively transform health care for Africans growing population. Business and public sector leaders at the forum lauded this initiative as a timely game-changer to improve the health sector in Africa.

A vision of GBCHealth and the Aliko Dangote Foundation, ABCHealth will mobilise private sector champions committed to advancing health outcomes across Africa.

“Only partnerships will help solve the health challenges the continent faces. Healthcare in Africa is constrained by scarce public funding and limited donor support. Out-of-pocket expenditure accounts for 36% of Africa’s total healthcare spend. Given our income levels, it is no surprise that healthcare spend in Africa is grossly inadequate to meet Africa’s needs leading to a financing gap of $66 billion per annum,” explained Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Co-Founder of ABCHealth, and Co-Chair of GBCHealth.

In his keynote remarks, Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, said the Forum would identify issues and solutions to Africa’s health challenges with a view to mobilising the will to confront it head-on. The Foundation’s Executive Director, Halima Aliko-Dangote, delivered his remarks.

On her part, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and co-convener of the forum, Vera Songwe explained that health spending remains largely inadequate to meet growing healthcare needs.

“A healthy Africa is a productive Africa; a productive Africa is a prosperous Africa,” she added.

Citing findings from the ‘Economic Growth in Africa’ report launched during the Forum, Songwe noted than in Africa, only Algeria and Namibia) spend more than 5% of GDP on health, and out-of-pocket payments are still extremely high.

“The report shows us just how much economic impact can be made from investing in health,” she said.

Government representatives, business leaders and other key private and public sector stakeholders also restated strong commitments to facilitating quality healthcare, for all African citizens.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed said Africa needs to make the health sector a priority.

In support of the objectives of the Forum, the President of Botswana said that mobilising expertise, financial resources and innovations would go a long way towards improving Africa’s healthcare. This was reaffirmed by the President of Djibouti who said that no country can achieve economic development without a physically, mentally and socially fit population.

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