Enticing Chinese investment into Africa’s pharmaceutical and medical equipment sector (en)

9 juillet 2019
ITC Nouvelles
The pharmaceutical and medical equipment market in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia is attracting the attention of Chinese companies

The African pharmaceutical and medical equipment market is attracting the attention of Chinese companies in the wake of an investment roadshow organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products (CCCMHPIE) in June 2019.

The Convention on Pharmaceuticals China (18 to 20 June 2019) is the biggest trade fair on pharmaceutical products in China, gathering 50,000-plus visitors from more than 120 countries. During the conference, Chinese pharmaceutical and medical equipment investors and the officials of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia met and discussed investment opportunities in their respective countries.

More than 100 participants joined the half-day round table dialogue organized by ITC’s Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA), during which the representatives of IPAs and ministries of health from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia pitched their investment climate and market opportunities.

‘The rapid growth of the continent’s industrialization process in recent years, the significant improvement in transport infrastructure, and the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area – which covers more than 50 African countries – have all presented significant historical opportunities for regional pharmaceutical production centres in Africa,’ said Jiang Xuejun, Chief of Office for Asia and the Pacific at ITC.
‘It is foreseeable that in the near future more locally produced pharmaceutical products in Africa will be freely supplied to the African market,’ he said.

New leads with great potential

After the conference, approximately 20 Chinese companies had one-on-one discussions with African delegations to discuss potential investment projects. As a result, several new investment leads appeared in the areas of production of drugs, vaccinations and medical equipment.

Investment coming from such leads could have a great impact on social and economic improvements in Africa because they could contribute to making reliable and high-quality drugs more affordable and accessible. For now, according to the report Tackling the Triple Transition in Global Health Procurement by the Center for Global Development, everyday drugs like paracetamol can cost up to 30 times more in countries like Zambia than in the United Kingdom and United States of America.

Under the PIGA project, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) and ITC work together to increase investments in manufacturing and agroprocessing sectors. Such investment can create jobs and maximize local development benefits in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.