Africa: The Lost Continent No More - Pharmaceutical Executive


Africa: The Lost Continent No More

Pharmaceutical Executive

Linking the five determinants: Systems thinking and scalability

The five determinants can be represented as interdependent points on a star with strategy as the head. These determinants should be in constant alignment with each other to attract optimal FDI.

For instance, a lack of human capital in a particular FDI target instantly increases affordability (more expensive due to increased demand), increases risk (increased risk of strikes, political instability, etc.) and decreases tangibility. Hence, the determinants are to be thought of as related to each other much like an ecosystem, rather than focusing on one detail at the expense of the other—the so-called "systems thinking."

Related to this idea is the issue of scalability. Successful large-scale investments into healthcare in Africa should be affordable to the elite and the middle classes, should have an easily reproducible, standardized scalable model, should take into consideration the lack of highly skilled personnel and should tackle NCDs as at least part of its healthcare strategy. Standardization helps to ensure quality and uniformity and, hence, reduce clinical and operating risk.

Examples of successful models using those principles are the franchising model used by the Healthstore Foundation in Kenya; the organic reproducible model used by Vine Pharmaceuticals in Uganda; and World Health partners creating market efficiencies by using telemedicine to connect rural patients and semi-skilled health officials to skilled care professionals.

Healthcare investors who look for these simple principles in addition to their normal due diligence are more likely to see more large scale investments being bankable and profitable, as well as having maximum impact—what Andrew Kuper, head of Leapfrog Investments, calls "profits with purpose."

Steven Adjei (
), Kwaku Obeng-Appiah (
), and Les Funtleyder (
) are consultant partners at the African healthcare investment facilitating firm, BlueCloud Healthcare (


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