Over the past decade, most African countries have experienced annual growth of 5-6%, and this is projected to remain strong in the years ahead.
In part this is driven by significant population growth of the order of 2-3% each year, with the population doubling by 2050. Other trends include increasing urbanisation and a rise in non-communicable diseases.
The most significant influence on how medtech responds to this will be the new African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This came into effect on May 30 2019, with the aim of creating a single African market of over one billion people.
As a result, the health and wellbeing sector could be worth $259 billion in 2030, with around 16 million jobs being created. Africa will have 14% of all health and wellbeing business opportunities, second only to North America at 21%.
Core to AfCFTA will be the ever-closer harmonisation of standards and regulations at regional and continental levels.
Regulators, developers, investors, manufacturers, suppliers, and users will come together to ensure that these the standards and regulations are fit for purpose. They must ensure that they respond to the challenges and needs of the people that live across Africa.
Harmonising African regulations will also need to reflect and align with regulatory developments elsewhere. For example, the European Union is currently in a transition period for new regulations introduced in 2017 on medical devices and on in-vitro diagnostic devices.
The market environment created by reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers through AfCFTA is therefore a huge incentive for the private sector to invest in African-manufactured medical devices