Afreximbank, IsDB, Others Launch $1.5bn COPREFA Fund
By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the Trade Finance Arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group; and the Arab Bank For Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) are to launch a $1.5 billion Collaborative COVID-19 Pandemic Response Facility (COPREFA) to help the continent get back on its feet.
COPREFA will be accessed by eligible central banks, commercial banks and businesses to finance the import of medical supplies, as well as agricultural equipment and fertilizers essential for addressing the pressing food production deficit.
The programme is also designed to support African economies to overcome a myriad of challenges, including commodity price shocks, a significant drop in tourism, and disruption to supply chains and export manufacturing.
It will also address the sudden declines in financial flows, including a drop off in trade and project finance, migrant remittances, portfolio investment and Foreign Direct Investments.
A key attribute of the COPREFA facility is the speed at which financial assistance can be provided through all partners involved. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be fast-paced, requiring support that can be deployed quickly and flexibly to prevent sharp declines in national economies.
Standard eligibility criteria and credit appraisal process have been developed by COPREFA partners in order to facilitate the implementation of the facility. Support will be available through direct funding, lines of credit, confirmation and refinancing of documentary credits; guarantees, cross-currency swaps and other similar instruments.
The co-financed facility, led by Afreximbank leverages strategic partnerships with other Multilateral Financial Institutions and other international financial institutions in co-financing, risk-sharing of transactions and promoting integrated trade solutions, to support African economies on navigating the impact of COVID-19.
Afreximbank has a strong track record of supporting African economies during financial crises. In 2015, the Bank disbursed more than $10 billion through a Counter-Cyclical Trade Liquidity Facility (COTRALF) to help member countries manage the adverse economic fallout of commodity price shocks.
In March 2020, a financial package called the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) was launched solely by Afreximbank to support economies through the pandemic – a facility of which over US$5 billion has been disbursed, will be implemented alongside COPREFA.
Established 45 years ago, BADEA as international development finance institutions (DFIs) with the objective of supporting economic, financial and technical cooperation between Arab and African countries through a wide range of financing instruments that have been enhanced and diversified to meet the economic needs of beneficiary countries.
Speaking on this partnership, Mr Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many economies. Africa has not been spared. Afreximbank’s priority has always been to step-up when markets fall. That is why we are supporting African economies forcefully at the time of great difficulties.
“COPREFA, a product of a unique international partnership, is a major contribution to the global fight against the pandemic and will work alongside our other programs to ensure Africa’s future remains bright beyond this economic shock. We thank our partners for the confidence.”
On his part, Mr Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, said: “Providing fiscal bandwidth and practical support to SMEs and medical communities in African countries will deliver immediate relief from the supply side restraints on personal protective equipment caused by the pandemic. ITFC has worked extensively since the very start of the COVID-19 outbreak to provide comprehensive support to some of the most vulnerable countries.
The multilateral arrangement that ITFC is embarking upon with our strategic partners will boost economic activity when and where it is needed most and help many countries maintain food security at a time when global commodity supply chains are being challenged and import activity sharply reduced.”
The Director-General of BADEA, Mr Sidi Ould said: “DFI’s as the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), with its partners, has been and will always be; supporting the continent through tough and good times as a reliable, strong and resourceful financial institution.
“And since the COVID-19 pandemic posed drastic challenges that are reshaping the scene of the global economy, we sought that it will require unprecedented cooperation and measures to tackle these challenges.
BADEA has joined the fight against the pandemic by allocating a gross amount of more than USD 500 million in the COPREFA and other initiatives. These allocations will be utilised to ease the negative impacts of the pandemic on African economies and ensure the flow of essential strategic commodities on the continent.”
THF Secures $50 for Innovative Healthcare Models in Africa
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Funds worth $50 million have been secured by Transform Health Fund (THF) to create proven and innovative healthcare models in Africa.
It will involve building a resilient healthcare ecosystem that improves access, affordability, resilience, and quality of healthcare for low-income patients.
FSD Africa Investments, AfricInvest, Malaria No More, and Health Finance Coalition (HFC) provided the funds to achieve this goal.
They came together to address the critical healthcare financing gap in Africa, targeting three critical areas serving low-income patients: supply chain transformation, innovative care delivery, and digital innovation.
The investments to be made by THF, a blended-finance fund, will target countries across sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on East, Southern, and Francophone West Africa. These investments will address the acute need for quality and affordable healthcare across the continent.
THF’s investment strategy explicitly targets health services for women as one of its main investment objectives. Some of its investments are constructed with a strong gender lens, targeting women-led businesses and serving increasing numbers of women.
“FSDAi is excited to announce its catalytic capital investment in the innovative THF fund. We are proud that our capital contribution to this tranche of the fund facilitated the participation of other commercial and corporate private sector investors.
“Partnering with AfricInvest, HFC and the additional fund participants to strengthen the African healthcare system, particularly in a time of environmental stress and unpredictable climate events, is a high priority for FSDAi,” the Chief Investment Officer at FSD Africa Investments, Ms Anne Marie Chidzero, said.
Also commenting, the Head of the Private Sector and Capital Markets Department at FCDO, Louise Walker, said, “The UK is excited with FSDAi to be a catalytic investor in the Transform Health Fund.
“This innovative partnership brings together concessional and private finance, which will mobilise more capital, critical to making healthcare more accessible to and more affordable for low-income patients across the continent.”
UK Gives Nigeria £2m to Strengthen Health Workforce
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Kingdom has committed £2 million in grants to support Nigeria in strengthening her health workforce in the vision of achieving Universal Health Coverage.
The grant will cover two years to support the Nigerian government in optimizing the health workforce’s performance, quality, and impact through evidence-informed policies and strategies.
It is part of a larger UK support plan to boost and support healthcare staff recruitment and retention in three African countries – Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
In a statement, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Richard Montgomery, said, “A skilled, well-motivated and adequate health workforce is critical for Nigeria to #EndPreventableDeaths and build resilience against global threats.
“This UK International Development funding aligns with the Nigerian health workforce strategic plan and will help the country upskill its workers and improve health outcomes in the long run.”
The 2-year HRH project aims to support the government at federal and state levels and support regulatory bodies, professional associations, and other key stakeholders to develop transformative strategies for scaling up the quantity and quality of health workers, including competency-based curricula development and reviews.
It was announced that it will help to align investment in HRH with the current and future needs of the population and health systems; strengthen the capacity of institutions, including regulatory bodies, for effective public policy stewardship, leadership, and governance, optimize health workers’ retention, equitable distribution, and performance and strengthen the management of Health workforce data for monitoring and accountability. The project will implement interventions in Nigeria.
The project will draw on the technical capacity of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to strengthen health systems, including experience in implementing similar projects with appreciable results in the past.
Implementation at state levels, focusing on six states of Cross River, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, and Lagos, will build on the presence and technical support being provided to state governments through the 37 WHO sub-national offices in Nigeria.
“The strength of every health system reflects the capacity and adequacy of its health workforce, which are necessary to deliver quality services to address population health needs,” says Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria.
“Through the UK government’s generous support through WHO, we will deploy the technical support from the three levels of the organization to support the development of evidence-based policies and strategies, capacity building and management for improved planning and management of Nigeria’s health workforce”.
Helium Gets $30m to Spread Healthcare Finance Offering
By Adedapo Adesanya
Helium Health, a Nigerian healthtech company, has raised a fresh $30 million to expand the reach of its fintech product, HeliumCredit.
The company, which provides Software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, financing, and insights to healthcare providers and public health organizations, will use the latest injection to drive growth in some of its expanding verticals.
The round was led by AXA IM Alts with participation from Capria Ventures, Angaza Capital, Anne Wojcicki (Founder of 23&Me), and Flatworld Partners. Existing investors Global Ventures, Tencent, Ohara Pharmaceuticals, LCY Group, WTI, and AAIC also participated in the round.
This is the first of its kind since the healthtech company secured a $10 million Series A in 2020 and 18 months following a rare Africa-GCC deal involving UAE-based healthcare provider-patient interaction platform Meddy.
“We believe in a future where good healthcare is a reality for all Africans, not just the few. We are deeply committed to supporting both private healthcare providers and public health stakeholders with finance, technology, and data to achieve that vision. We are delighted to have such seasoned healthcare investors accompany us on our journey,” Mr Adegoke Olubisi, the CEO and co-founder of the company, said.
In this growth phase, Helium Health also looks to deepen its collaborations within the public health and global health communities, another core focus of its work. Global health funders contribute about 15 per cent of total health expenditure in sub-Saharan Africa and play a critical role in tackling the continent’s leading causes of death, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and maternal and child mortality.
On the part of the investors, Mr Jonathan Dean, Head of Impact Investing at AXA IM Alts, said, “We are delighted to invest, through AXA IM Alts’ impact investing strategies, in Helium Health’s mission of providing digital solutions to improve the quality and efficacy of health services in resource-constrained environments, whilst also directly equipping health sector enterprises with affordable financial services.”
“This investment directly contributes to AXA IM Alts’ broader impact goals of improving financial inclusion and reducing inequalities globally,” he added.
“We have seen first-hand the evolution of Helium Health over the years. The leadership team deeply understands Africa’s healthcare sector and knows how to build products that meet its nuanced needs,” added Mr Noor Sweid, Managing Partner, Global Ventures.
Launched in 2020, HeliumCredit has extended more than $3.5 million in credit to over 200 healthcare facilities in Nigeria, including hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and diagnostics centres, which have used the loans to purchase medical equipment, medications in bulk and expand their locations. With easier access to credit, healthcare providers can increase patient retention, increase revenues, and improve the quality of care.
Helium Health will also launch HeliumCredit in Kenya this year, increasing its lending portfolio to 1,000 healthcare facilities by 2024 in partnership with the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
Helium Health aims to be the leading technology partner for public health entities by supporting and implementing their programs and strategies in Africa. Helium Health has received funding from organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MSD for Mothers to execute projects under their maternal health program strategies in the past year.
The company will also continue to scale its SaaS suite for healthcare providers through HeliumOS, its Electronic Medical Records and Hospital Management Information System (EMR/HMIS) solution. HeliumOS helps health facilities of any size or specialty run their operations more efficiently, increase revenues, and improve healthcare delivery.
Latest News on Business Post
- Shipsy Hires Former Jumia COO to Meet African Expansion Target June 7, 2023
- Subsidy Removal: CNG at N130 Per Litre Cheaper Than Petrol—IPMAN June 7, 2023
- THF Secures $50 for Innovative Healthcare Models in Africa June 7, 2023
- Nigeria Upgrades Tax-to-GDP Ratio to 10.86% From 6% June 7, 2023
- Tinubu Swears in George Akume As SGF June 7, 2023
- Union Bank’s αlpher, Chrystallis Promote Women Empowerment June 7, 2023
- Civil Society Engagement at Core of US-African Relations in Multipolar World June 7, 2023
- Bolt, Uber Drivers Stop Work Over Hike in Petrol Prices June 7, 2023
- Edo Raises Minimum Wage by 33% to N40000, Slashes Work Days to Three June 7, 2023
- South Africa Faces Deep-Seated Economic, Energy Crisis June 7, 2023