The Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote, has charged business leaders in Nigeria and Africa to commit at least one percent of their profit after tax to support the health sector.
He gave the charge at the 2019 Africa Business Health Forum in Addis Ababa, which witnessed the launching of the official logo of African Business Coalition for Health (ABC Health) designed to bring together business leaders in Africa to collaborate with heads of government and other stakeholders to tackle basic health challenges in Africa which held at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
The Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa Report was also launched at the event.
A statement by the forum described the ABC Health as a joint initiative of Aliko Dangote Foundation; GBC Health and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), with the objective of driving business leadership, strengthening partnerships, and facilitating investments to change the face of healthcare in Africa.
In his opening remarks at the event, Dangote who was represented by his Foundation’s Executive Director, Halima Aliko-Dangote said Africa Business Health Forum would identify issues and solutions to Africa’s health challenges with a view to mobilizing the will to confront it headlong.
“It is a well-known fact that there is a vital relationship between health and economic growth and development in Africa as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more.
“Access to essential health services is an important aspect of development. Governments from both developed and developing countries are increasingly looking at Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) as a way to expand access to higher-quality health services by leveraging capital, managerial capacity, and know-how from the private sector.
“Africa’s healthcare systems demand significant investments to meet the needs of their growing populations, changing patterns of diseases and the internationally-agreed development goals,” he said.
Dangote noted that the forum is expected to unify Africa’s key decision makers in exploring opportunities for catalysing growth in the continent’s economy, through business partnerships to invest in the health sector.
In his own remark, the Co-Chair of the GBC Health, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede said while Africa has made significant progress in the funding of healthcare, it is still very far from where it needs to be to achieve SDG Goal three.
He lamented that the healthcare in Africa is constrained by scarce public funding and limited donor support, noting that the out of pocket expenditure accounts for 36% of Africa’s total healthcare spend.
Aig-Imoukhuede also pointed out that given the income levels in Africa, it is no surprise that healthcare spend in Africa is grossly inadequate to meet Africa’s needs leading to a financing gap of N66bn per annum.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe regretted that Africa with over 50 countries is struggling to combat her healthcare challenges.
According to her, about $17.3 worth of drugs are imported into African Continent; noting that if Africa can manufacture those drugs, that would be $17.3 billion worth of jobs created.
The African heads of governments including President of Republic of Djibouti, Omar Gilles; the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi identified inadequate funding as part of the problems militating against achieving sound healthcare service while they endorsed the establishment of ABC for Health.