The PSHAN Health Investments Conference, held during the Medic West Africa event, brought together key stakeholders from across the healthcare sector to discuss critical issues and explore opportunities for improving healthcare investment and delivery in Nigeria and Africa. The conference, which took place at the Main Showfloor, Landmark Centre on Thursday, April 18, 2024, featured a lineup of distinguished speakers and panelists who provided insights into the rapidly changing landscape of healthcare investments, challenges, and proposing sustainable solutions for the Nigerian market. The event offered a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration, setting the stage for future advancements in the healthcare sector.
Themed “Healthcare Investment Trends: Exploring Opportunities, Challenges and Proposing Sustainable Solutions for The Nigerian Market”, the conference opened with a welcome address by Dr. Tinuola Akinbolagbe, Managing Director and CEO of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN). Dr. Akinbolagbe set the tone for the event by outlining the conference’s objectives and emphasizing the importance of improving healthcare access and quality. She further highlighted the crucial role of understanding market opportunities and challenges to facilitate sustainable growth in the sector.
“As we work towards improving healthcare access and quality, it is crucial to understand the opportunities and challenges present in the market and develop a framework to enhance healthcare access and quality. This understanding of the various investment opportunities and challenges is essential for sustainable growth while providing an avenue to explore strategies for risk mitigation, technology integration, and investment in reshaping healthcare investment,” Dr Akinbolagbe noted.
The initiative to create a single African market has existed in the pan-African political discourse for decades. The continent was set on the path to actualising the goal after the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement was included in the African Union’s (AU) 2063 agenda. The agreement was signed on 21 March 2018, came into force on 30 May 2019, and became operational on 7 July 2019. After delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Free Trade Area (FTA) was launched on 1 January 2021. The agreement aims to boost intra-African trade by eliminating 97% of tariff lines on goods and services as a pathway to industrialisation and prosperity on the continent.

One of the distinguished speakers, Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Executive Chairman of Africa Health Business, Kenya, in his presentation, provided a comprehensive framework for balancing risk and reward in health investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. His discussion shed light on the strategies and challenges involved in investing in healthcare in the region. Dr. Thakker further explored the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in facilitating investments and offered insights into opportunities for growth and navigating associated risks.

The event also featured Oghogho Makinde, Partner at ALN Nigeria|Aluko & Oyebode. Her presentation focused on developing metrics and indicators for assessing the success of public-private partnership (PPP) projects in Nigeria. Makinde emphasized the importance of data-driven decision-making and how the AfCFTA can enhance cross-border collaboration, providing opportunities for improving monitoring and evaluation systems across the continent. “Data-driven decision-making is key to evaluating the success of PPP projects,” Makinde remarked.
Presently, intra-African trade stands low at just 14.4% of total African exports. United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) forecasts show the AfCFTA could boost intra-African trade by about 33% and cut the continent’s trade deficit by 51%. About 34% of households in Africa live below the international poverty line ($1.9 per day). To unlock the untapped potential, various intra-African non-tariff barriers, including costly nontariff measures, infrastructure gaps, and market information gaps, need to be successfully addressed which requires joint efforts under the AfCFTA.

Nelly Ale, Head of Health Ecosystems at Mastercard Foundation, spoke in a panel discussion about evaluating the costs for equitable access to healthcare services through PPPs in Nigeria. “We must ensure that trade liberalization and healthcare investments yield equitable access to quality care across all regions,” Ale stated. Her insights underscored the need for strategies that facilitate shared benefits of investments and trade liberalization across Nigeria, promoting fairness in healthcare access.

Dr. Anne Adah-Ogoh, Director of Policy at PSHAN, contributed to the conference by discussing strategies for promoting inclusivity for affordable, quality, and first-rate healthcare services through PPPs. She emphasized the need to remove cross-border trade barriers and regulatory inconsistencies that impact the flow of health goods and services within the AfCFTA region and the mitigation strategies that can be implemented.
The panel discussion “leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, the key to unlocking the Healthcare value chain in Africa?” was another highlight of the conference. Moderated by Dr. Adah-Ogoh, the panel included Dr. Akinbolagbe, Dr. Thakker, Ale, and Makinde. The discussion centered around unlocking the healthcare value chain in Africa and the potential for cross-border collaboration under the AfCFTA framework. Panelists explored ways to enhance regional trade and create robust health value chains while fostering innovation and inclusive growth.
The PSHAN Health Investments Conference offered attendees a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights from industry leaders and experts in healthcare investment and delivery. It provided a platform for collaborative discussions, exploring the potential for meaningful change and progress in the African healthcare landscape. As a result, the conference’s impact is expected to resonate well beyond its conclusion, driving future advancements and improvements in healthcare outcomes across the continent.
L-R: Dr Anne Adah-Ogoh, Director of Policy, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN); Nelly Ale, Head of Health Ecosystems, Mastercard Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya; Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Executive Chairman, Africa Health Business, Nairobi, Kenya; Oghogho Makinde, Partner, ALN Nigeria | Aluko & Oyebode, Nigeria; and Dr. Tinuola Akinbolagbe, MD/CEO, PSHAN, at the 2024 PSHAN Health Investments Conference held on Thursday, April 18, 2024 at Landmark Centre, Lagos.