At last year’s Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Aliko Dangote, the African business magnate, announced a partnership between the Aliko Dangote Foundation and GBCHealth. Since the announcement, the partners have worked together to develop the foundation for a regional platform to connect African business leaders and philanthropists to mobilize coordinated action on health.
“The time is ripe for the private sector to proactively demonstrate its value in partnering to lead a new era in development,” said Aliko Dangote. “The coalition can provide much needed guidance to ensure activities and investments are driving results in areas where the private sector can have real impact, focusing on holistic and integrated solutions that cross borders.”
There is a strong rationale for the private sector to play a role in shaping health markets in Africa. The continent currently has 400 companies with revenue of more than $1 billion per year, and these companies are growing faster, and are more profitable in general, than their global peers. Beyond these fast-moving regional leaders, small and growing businesses create 80% of the continent’s employment and are stoking the engines of growth.
“Good Health means Good Business”
Against this backdrop, there’s a new cadre of responsible business leaders and philanthropists who understand the value and promise of sustainable large-scale investments in African countries, and are poised to make an even bigger impact on the continent’s people and economies.
Investments in better training, healthcare and supply chain accountability have demonstrated direct financial return through gains in productivity and efficiency, while support for social programs has accelerated economic growth and has raised incomes, which in turn unlocks a wider consumer base. Yet significant obstacles and market failures remain. To confront these obstacles and change the face of health in Africa we must:
- Ensure coordination of private health providers; and complementary programs and investments from the private sector through alignment;
- Improve formal public sector engagement and partnership with the private sector; develop consistent advocacy strategies across sectors;
- Create new financial products including insurance and make them accessible to private providers and patients; and
- Work together with governments to optimize regulatory systems to ensure quality standards and accelerate deployment of the best products.
ABCHealth is poised to usher in this new era of collaboration. Linking the global network and experience of GBCHealth and the leadership of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the coalition is positioned to support African and global companies to:
- Design, partner and implement workplace and community health programs across Africa
- Develop social investment strategies and pipelines of investable programs
- Conceive, launch, and increase the influence of signature popular campaigns on priority health issues
- Broker and manage public-private partnerships with governments
- Coordinate advocacy strategies that help shape policies at the national and regional level
- Convene a diverse set of stakeholders at high-profile events to stimulate partnership, investment and learning
- Act as the standard bearer for best practices in Africa, providing visibility for African companies and guiding responsible action
- Link national and regional health organizations, alliances, industry groups and community-based organizations to coordinate activity and connect donors and investors
Mercy Machiya – a global health leader with more than 20 years of experience spearheading health programs and scientific research in a number of African countries- joined the team earlier this month. She is based in Lagos and starts this week. We also look forward to convening interested parties at this year’s UN General Assembly for a panel discussion hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), GBCHealth and the Aliko Dangote Foundation where we will discuss this important work.
In the meantime, we call on all business leaders across the continent to join the Africa-led private sector movement to improve the health and well-being of all citizens across the continent through innovation, partnership and investment.