AFC boosts African healthcare with $40m

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the continent’s leading instrumental infrastructure solutions provider, Wednesday signed an equity investment term sheet, pledging up to $40 million towards the construction of the African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) Abuja hospital. The visionary 500-bed medical health facility is currently being developed by Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the leading trade finance bank for Africa, in partnership with King’s College Hospital, London (KCH). The agreement was signed at the inaugural AMCE African Health Forum in Abuja.

The project will strategically harness KCH’s unparalleled diagnostic, clinical, and capacity-building expertise and specialise in three core non-communicable diseases – oncology, cardiology, and haematology – with a commitment to world-class research, education, and development capabilities to establish itself as a leader in clinical services.

The AMCE initiative heralds a revolution in healthcare in West Africa. It aims to turn the tide of medical tourism away from the continent by building the first in a series of world-class medical centres of excellence in Africa, thus providing widespread access to critical health care in the region.

A first-of-its-kind medical treatment and research centre, AMCE Abuja will be executed in four phases over six years. As a new shareholder, AFC will play a pivotal role in the first phase that involves building an initial 170-bed specialist hospital, set to expand to 500 beds by the third phase. With construction over halfway complete, the facility is on track to commence operations in the first quarter of 2025.

The African healthcare sector faces a severe infrastructure deficit and an equally chronic shortage of qualified medical practitioners. Government-owned health facilities are stretched to their limits due to inadequate capacity, leading to a reliance on medical tourism and its associated burdens. Hospitals across West Africa struggle with funding, lack of essential resources, and limited access in rural areas.

The AMCE aims to reduce this gap by creating approximately 3,000 jobs during construction and operational phases, employing over 200 people, and offering training opportunities for doctors and nurses. The facility is projected to provide state of the art care to over 350,000 patients in Nigeria and other African countries within its first five years of operation. Additionally, it aims to attract talent back to the ecosystem on the continent, providing better access to much needed healthcare.

AFC President & CEO, Samaila Zubairu, said: “Africa’s healthcare sector suffers a severe and alarming infrastructure gap and a shortage of qualified medical practitioners. We are therefore pleased to partner alongside Afreximbank and King’s College Hospital, London, on this epoch-making project that will transform healthcare in Africa and contribute to a reversal in medical tourism. Building a world-class facility that captures medical spend in Africa, promotes specialist skills development, retains and, most importantly, attracts healthcare practitioners in our local communities, aligns well with AFC’s import substitution strategy and we look forward to working with all partners to establish the AMCE as a beacon of medical excellence on the continent.”

President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah, said: “We are delighted that AFC have joined us as strategic partners on this important initiative aimed at addressing Africa’s healthcare infrastructure challenges. This collaboration exemplifies the power of cooperation among African Development Finance Institutions in driving impactful projects that benefit our communities and promote sustainable growth. By investing in AMCE Abuja, we are not only supporting the establishment of world-class healthcare infrastructure but also creating opportunities for job creation, skills development, and knowledge transfer. We invite more partners to join us in this crucial endeavour to revolutionise healthcare in Africa and make a lasting impact on the well-being of our communities.”

The collaboration sets a powerful precedent for African Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to address infrastructure challenges across the continent. Through the establishment of a world-class medical and health facility in West Africa, these institutions reaffirm their dedication to shaping a healthier and more sustainable future for Africa.