How the COVID-19 pandemic gave African countries the opportunity to improve public health and attract investment
In general, the African continent has traditionally lagged far behind the world in terms of health services, pharmaceuticals and medical training, but the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the real size of this chasm. The testing rate across Africa is over 40 times lower than in Europe.
This situation has led African countries to think about the need to take their destiny into their own hands and build facilities to manufacture its own vaccines, as well as educational and medical technology centers.
In 2021, the African Union and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the creation of five vaccine production sites on the continent. The target is to produce locally within 20 years (by 2040) 60 percent of all vaccines used on the continent – compared with one percent today.
The continent’s health care system faces big challenges and there is a lot of room for improvement at a national level. Only a few African countries have full vaccine manufacturing capabilities and their contribution is largely limited to “fill and finish” work.
Because of the pandemic, Africa’s healthcare sector has been attracting a significant amount of capital inflows and investment in recent years with technology viewed as the main driver. Healthtech in Africa is expected to reach a market value of over US$11 billion by 2025.
The development and deployment of telemedicine, virtual primary care and last-mile delivery solutions will boost access to quality healthcare. In some African countries there is an opportunity to build public health systems practically from scratch, using the latest technological trends.
The participation of Russia and Russian companies in this process is a mutual opportunity to develop economic and scientific cooperation, as well as to increase the level of healthcare in Africa with the support of Russia.