03 Nov Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa
Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa: Preliminary Findings
Preliminary findings from the forthcoming report “Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa” identify the importance of improving health to drive Africa’s economic growth and the need for the private sector to play a significant role in improving Africa’s health. Specifically, the report highlights:
- Health affects economic growth. There is considerable evidence that raising the health of a population increases labor productivity, reduces absenteeism at school and at work and lowers catastrophic expenses on healthcare. Further, there is a robust link between improved health outcomes and economic growth. For instance, improvements in life expectancy at birth, child mortality rates and maternal mortality rates are linked with growth in GDP per capita.
- The private sector has an important role to play in health. Additional support is needed, and governments do not have the capacity to do it on their own. On average, countries devote just six percent of their GDP to healthcare, much lower than in the U.S. and other OECD countries.
- Current public-private partnerships in health can be more effective. Existing public-private partnerships are disproportionately focused on a small number of countries – 10 out of Africa’s 54 countries account for half of the current partnerships. Further, current public-private partnerships are not aligned with the countries’ most pressing health problems and are not broad enough. Partnerships and solutions require a holistic approach that also addresses underfunded areas resulting in poor infrastructure, malnutrition and the lack of clean water. Other underfunded areas such as education, technology innovation, products and supply chain offer opportunities for business engagement and investment.
The forthcoming publication of the “Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa” report will launch and serve as the foundation of discussions at the Africa Business: Health Forum on February 12, 2019 in Addis Ababa on the margins of the African Union Summit.