UN urges Africa to create 60 million jobs in pharmaceuticals

African continent can create jobs to 60 million in drug industries if the continent invest in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals products locally, says UN official.

Speaking at the 2019 Africa Business Health Forum opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this morning, the chief of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe stated that the continent is spending over $17.3 billion every year for importing drugs.

“By doing so we have been exporting jobs…Healthy Africa means developed Africa; Healthy Africa means prosperous Africa. The public sector can’t fund all the healthcare needs of Africa – the private sector has been doing it and more is needed,” she said.

“By 2030, an estimated 14% of all business opportunities in the health and well-being sector globally will be in Africa, second only to North America with 21%. This is a huge opportunity for the private sector.”

The Forum attended by heads of states including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, Djibouti’s President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh and President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The leaders have reflected on the need of the private sector involvement in investing in the health sector in Africa using the opportunities the sector offers.

“The private sector should play vital role in financing and supporting national health plans…It is indeed part of corporate social responsibility,” said Prime Minister Abiy, indicating that his government has recently enacted a law that ca make easy private public partnerships in various sectors including the health sector.

Prime Minister Abiy also stressed that access to basic health services should not come at a cost of quality. “…Our citizens deserve quality health services,” he said.

The Presidents of Djibouti and Botswana have also mentioned the opportunities his country is offering to the private sector to collaborate with the government in the health sector.

Representatives presidents of Egypt and Kenya have also expressed their openness to welcome the private sector to invest in health sector in their effort to meet tone of the goals of sustainable development goals.

The representative has mentioned that so far in Kenya $4.5 billion is invested in the health sector by the private sector and $11 billion investment is expected in the next ten years.

Africa accounts for less than 2% of global health even though our very fertile people account for 16% of global population and carry 26% of the global disease burden, according to Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Founder and Chairman of Coronation Capital in Nigeria.

“By 2050 Africans will account for more than 50% of global population growth much of that coming from my country Nigeria, a great opportunity and at the same time a ticking time bomb should we fail our health systems quickly,” he said addressing the gathering.

Reports show that there is healthcare financing gap of $66 billion in Africa. Conversely a prediction of $259 billion economic gain from public private partnership investments in health.