Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Africa Healthcare Industry

With a population of more than 1.2 billion (compared with 477 million in 1980), the African continent is attracting the interest of Western pharmaceutical manufacturers. but it is still difficult to obtain drugs in many countries where the pharmaceutical industry is underdeveloped, except in South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. By 2050, about 2.2 billion people could be added to the world's population and more than half of that growth will occur in Africa. Africa will represent the largest population surge with an additional 1.3 billion inhabitants on the continent, says new UN population report. [1]

in African context, by 2050  population of Nigeria 411 million, Democratic Republic of Congo 195.3 million, Ethiopia 188.5 million, Egypt 142 million, Tanzania 129.4 million, Uganda 101 million, Kenya 95, Sudan 81 million will rich. [2]

On the other side, sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, is expected to reach a GDP of $29 trillion by 2050. [3]


Currently, roughly 400 million (40 percent) of Africa’s one billion people live in cities. At an average urban migration rate of 3.5 percent projected for the coming years, more than another 300 million Africans will become urban dwellers over the next 20 years. This means more Africans could have better access to health facilities and will be consuming ‘more’ medicines.

Another problem of Africa is growth,is tabagism. British American Tobacco estimates that the global tobacco market is worth $770 billion, with cigarettes accounting for $700 billion of that. Smoking has risen 50% in Africa over 35 years and smoking is the leading cause of cancer.


Cancer is emerging as a major public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) because of population aging and growth, as well as increased prevalence of key risk factors, including those associated with the social and economic transition.

One of the diseases that cost the most in terms of treatment costs is cancer.

According to some estimates, Africa’s cancer burden will at least double between 2008 and 2030. There are a few reasons why cancer cases were appeared to be low in sub-Saharan Africa. These;

  • No GM Foods (Genetically modified foods) product use,
  •  Low level of smoking,
  • The absence of air pollution from industrial processes,
  • No fast food,
  • Traditional, with vegetables and fruits healthy eating habit.

However, with the recent economic development, people’s eating and drinking habits are changing rapidly. This change has created a new problem this is diabetes.


The subject of diabetes is very interesting. As is known, diabetes drugs are not produced in any African country. The number of countries that can produce this medicine is very low.

Notwithstanding the paucity of data on diabetes in Africa, the IDF estimates that Africa spends 7% of its health care budget on diabetes. Healthcare expenditure due to diabetes in 2015 was USD 3.4 billion and is estimated to increase to USD 5.5 billion in 2040. However, these estimates are uncertain because 66.7% of people with diabetes in Africa is assumed to be undiagnosed [6]. Considering that the raw material of many medicines was imported from the African continent.


Generic drugs (copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same qualities as the original medicine) and Chinese or İndian based low-quality cheap drugs are other problems. This low-cost advantage has made impossible for local businessmen to medicine manufacturing.

İn the continent for the next 20 years, the population will be doubled, African economies will grow by 50% and health problems will increase by at least two times.

In this giant market, a two-stage plan can be implemented in order not to be too many ‘dominant’ foreign companies.

First: For urgent needs, competitiveness-enhancing agreements with Russian, and Brazilian pharmaceutical producers will reduce prices in the market.

Second: In the following plan, just like the “Saudi Vision 2030”, a joint pharmaceutical industry can be built between African countries.

AFRIC Editorial Article.

Statistics credit:

[1]“World Population Prospects – Population Division – United Nations”. Retrieved 2017-11-29.

[2]Zinkina J., Korotayev A. Explosive Population Growth in Tropical Africa: Crucial Omission in Development Forecasts (Emerging Risks and Way Out). World Futures 70/2 (2014): 120–139.

[3]“Get ready for an Africa boom”. Retrieved 2017-09-12.

[4]International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes, 7 ed, Brussels: International Diabetes Federation; 2015.

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