The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), a leading policy think tank in the country, has launched its paper titled, “Attracting funding for the Nigerian health sector,” which proffers the best financing options that would drive growth in that all-important sector.
It also brought to the fore the critical challenges faced by investors and proffered solutions towards overcoming them. These steps, the organisers believed, would encourage investment in the sector as well as guarantee improved health for the population.
In her presentation at the launch, Ola Brown, the thematic team lead and founder, HealthCap Africa, who led the authorship of the paper titled, ‘NESG’s Health As A Business’, spoke about healthcare being a major generator of profit and returns.
She also spoke on the advantages of financing healthcare companies, challenges faced by founders, promoters and investors in Nigeria’s healthcare businesses as well as means of addressing the challenges.
Obinna Nnewuihe, who is also a member of the HPC, had provided the contextual background just before the presentation of the paper.
African countries spend between $8 and $129 per capita on health compared to high-income countries that spend up to $12,000 per capita. Inadequate investment in healthcare services or initiatives to address the environmental and social determinants of health constitute a significant barrier to improving health outcomes in Africa.
The NESG paper exposed the idea of the sheer scale of the opportunities in Africa across the healthcare value chain, and targeted promoters, policymakers and investors.
“We, as a sector, need to advocate for our sector. It is as important as banks, telecommunications, oil and gas but we have not positioned the sector properly,” stated Brown, a medical doctor who equally holds a Master degree in Finance and Economic Policy.
“Healthcare creates employment. It is a wealth generator. If we get it right, we will definitely get exports”, she added.
HealthCap is a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage investments in health tech and fintech startups across Africa.
According to her, the firm has invested in over 20 companies that currently have operations across 12 countries, serving nearly one million customers and patients, and creating over 1000 jobs.
The panel session featured interesting discussions around the opportunities for healthcare as a business, the challenges, solutions and ways to fund healthcare businesses. The session had Olayemi Dawodu, Uyi Ima-Edomwonyi, Ayodele Cole-Benson and Richardson Ajayi, who was the chairman, steering committee as discussants.
Mories Atoki, lead facilitator, Health Policy Commission, gave the closing remark and spoke about how the solutions as articulated in the paper would help reset healthcare funding in the country if well implemented.
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) was established and incorporated as a non-profit, non-partisan private sector organization with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy into an open, private sector-led globally competitive economy.
Over the years, NESG has achieved significant progress in the areas of research outputs, execution of programmes, seminars, conferences and workshops aimed at facilitating the formulation and implementation of social and economic reform programmes for the growth and transformation of the Nigerian economy.
NESG has emerged as the most notable platform for public-private dialogue in the country. During this period, the Group has established an excellent working relationship
with the government of Nigeria, the public sector, private sector and other stakeholders.
Vice President Kashim Shettima recently assured of the determination of the President Tinubu-administration to partner with the NESG to develop economic policies and programmes that will drive investments and create jobs.