Needling Questions On China In Africa

Monday, December 1, 2014

In a recent agreement, the China-Africa Development Fund and Wuhan-based Humanwell Healthcare (Group) Co. inked a deal to open a pharmaceutical factory in Bamako, Mali, as part of a series of healthcare sector investments in Africa.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa has contributed to a sense of urgency in reassessing China’s relationship with the continent. Mali has an Ebola cluster in the country’s capital of Bamako. While the spread of the virus in the country appears to be controlled, the limited health facilities across the region continue to elicit widespread concern.

With the Bamako drug factory deal, the media in China were quick to suggest that other Chinese companies should follow suit as well in seizing what appears to be great business opportunities in Africa’s grossly underserved medical market, which is expected to grow quickly as the continent develops.

Africa, and in particular, Sub-Saharan Africa, is indeed critically underserved to an extreme extent.

When I worked in the Republic of Benin, in West Africa, a colleague was sent to the hospital for malaria. The emergency room of the hospital was run down, dirty and filled with hundreds of patients. A small forest of intravenous poles stood in one area of the room, gathering rust. The quality of the healthcare itself was an archaic abomination.

Source: Caixin Online (link opens in a new window)

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