Africa of the Future

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Rahavendra
Rahavendra

A recent report released by DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, forecasts that going by the tremendous growth currently witnessed in the sector in various parts of the continent, Africa will soon become a global investment destination

|  By Vincent Nzemeke  |  Aug. 12, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

IN YEARS to come Africa will be the hub of healthcare development for the world a recent report released by DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa has revealed. In the report, the tremendous growth currently witnessed in the healthcare sector in various parts of the continent was attributed to increased life expectancy, rate of urbanization and the rise of the African middle class.

The report also added that the global life sciences sector has experienced healthy growth over the past decade. The world market for pharmaceuticals, for example, has doubled reaching a value of about USD 1 trillion, and is expected to grow by another three to six per cent per annum until 2016. This huge demand, which has been particularly strong in the mature markets of Europe and North America, is now infiltrating the more dynamic emerging markets including China, Russia and India, but is particularly relevant in Africa, which is positioned as the next frontier for the healthcare sector.

Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing, DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, says Africa has seen tremendous growth in the life sciences and healthcare sector over the past years, as well as investment into the development of healthcare, especially in the logistics sector, as a result of this shift.

“Companies are increasingly turning to Africa due to the opportunities that the continent offers as it is one of the few locations that can still obtain double digit economic growth. The life sciences logistics model in Africa is therefore changing drastically as, in the last two and a half years, we have seen major growth in hubs like Kenya, servicing East Africa, and South Africa, which plays a key role for the Southern African Development Community, SADC, countries; in addition to direct shipments into specific countries, as the capabilities grow within the region.”

Citing DHL’s recent report on key logistics developments in the healthcare sector for 2020 and beyond, entitled Key Logistics Trends in Life Sciences 2020+, Rahavendra says that this growth in Africa can be attributed to Sub Saharan Africa’s increased life expectancy, rate of urbanisation and rise of the middle class. “While Sub-Saharan Africa comprises of 12 percent of the global population, the region comprises of 24 percent of the global healthcare burden.”

Rahavendra also noted that the growth in ecommerce was another contributor to this shift in the pharmaceutical industry. “The healthcare sector will ultimately follow the technology sector as where there is communication, there is ability. Therefore, as technology capabilities roll out in the country, so will healthcare capabilities. With technology continually evolving, there is talk that consumers will likely soon be able to self-medicate and order over the counter drugs via their cellphones or the internet. These sorts of developments have the potential to drastically change both the healthcare, and logistics, sector.”

The current growth also poses some challenges which, according to Rahavendra, need to be met based on the current developments. He emphasized that increasing differentiation of supply chains and the need for companies to keep their supply chain flexible to adapt to requirements of innovative products is a key challenge.

In the face of these challenges,  Rahavendra is confident that the healthcare sector in Africa will continue to grow due to grow due to the on-going investment and development in the continent.  “The future is bright for Africa, and the healthcare sector will be one of its star performers.”

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