Photograph — ISG

On Saturday, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Investment Funds for Health in Africa (IFHA)-II, launched a US$115 million holding company to acquire and integrate targeted health care services and businesses in East and Southern Africa.

IFC is investing US$22 million in the Hospital Holdings Investment (HHI) holding company, an investment platform set up by IFHA-II, which is also supported by the European development finance organisations Swedfund, Proparco, Finnfund and IFU, Danish Investment Fund for Developing countries.

IFC is the largest multilateral investor in health care in developing countries, with investments in over 200 projects in the past two decades with a total of US$4.3 billion. However, HHI is IFC’s largest equity investment in health care in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa.

The project will focus on providing access to quality health care services to help improve lives and achieve universal health coverage across the regions. It is focused on filling the gap between the rich and poor in the society, by providing secondary and out-of-hospital care for middle to lower middle income patients in East and Southern Africa.

Also, HHI will offer accessible, affordable and quality health care by increasing the number of hospitals and clinics it operates. It is expanding the number of hospitals it operates in East and Southern Africa from one hospital and 35 clinics to five hospitals and 52 clinics, serving up to 1.8 million patients annually over the next five years. This will be achieved both by building new facilities and acquiring existing health care assets.

“Access to quality and affordable healthcare is essential for building the human capital that economies need to promote growth, as private investment in Africa’s health sector is a key strategy for competitiveness and growth,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC’s Chief Operating Officer.

HHI is IFC’s largest equity investment in health care in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa. IFC is the largest multilateral investor in health care in developing countries, with investments in over 200 projects worth over US$4.3 billion in the past two decades.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group, and it is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. In the fiscal year 2019, IFC delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Investment Funds for Health in Africa are private equity funds dedicated to small to medium size (equity) investments in private healthcare companies in Africa. IFHA invests in private healthcare companies that operate in fast-growing markets. IFHA also responds to the growing need for capital investments in private healthcare in Africa, which are driven by market growth and improved economic performance in Africa over the past number of years.

With the commencement of this project, there will be a massive development across the health sector of both countries. Rural dwellers who have little or no access to healthcare will also be able to access quality health services, thus fighting the spread of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

By Faith Ikade.

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