Kenya is urging Polish investors to take advantage of a government push to provide basic and affordable healthcare for the country by investing in various aspects of the healthcare system. This was part of the discussions going on at the 2nd Kenya-Poland Health Summit held under the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) office in Nairobi together with the Polish African Business Association (PAfBA).
The Managing Director of Kenya Investment Agency (KenInvest) Dr. Moses Ikiara noted that Kenya was providing an ideal environment for investment in the health sector with the GDP of the health sector growing at an annual rate of 11% higher than the national growth.
He also noted that Kenya had key parameters that would make it ideal for health techs to thrive. "Kenya ranks only second to Ivory Coast in ease of doing business, we have the highest internet penetration in Africa as well as a high mobile phone usage. If you have a tech solution, this is the best place to position your product," he noted.
Dr Ikiara also noted that the country has a high population that the government aims to cover under the Universal Health Coverage and is seeking partners to bridge this. "At the moment, we are only able to cover 50% of this population but aims to have covered each and every one of the 50M plus population by 2022. These are immense opportunities that Polish companies should grab."
The Polish Health Summit is a business event aimed at establishing valuable connections between Polish and Kenyan entrepreneurs in healthcare to form long-lasting and profitable partnerships. The event focused on presentations of Polish enterprises to the Kenyan audience followed by moderated networking sessions and B2B zone meetings aimed at facilitating direct business connections and productive information exchange between businessmen.
Some of the areas that Polish health companies have been encouraged to venture to include the establishment of hospitals, seeking telemedicine initiatives, generic drug provisions, home-based health care, medical equipment, medical supplies and human resources for health.
With the coming into effect of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area in July 2020, Dr. Ikiara asked Polish companies to set up shop in Nairobi as it offers the best and vantage point to attack the continent.
" We can give you an ideal location, good financial services, apt human resources, telecoms, and infrastructure for you to reach all of the regions. Africa free trade area will have 1.2 Billion people who you can target right from Kenya."
Amit Thakker, the Chair of Kenya Healthcare Federation noted that Kenya was improving the environment including raising the budgetary allocation. He, however, said Kenya, like most of its African neighbors needed to see spending in health investment.
"In Europe, 4,000 dollars are spent on health per person. In the US, it is 10,000 dollars. But here in Africa, the average is 200 dollars. But we understand, the governments might not have all the budget but now through Private-Public Partnerships, we can be able to do this," he observed.
Kenya is also is looking at Poland as a reliable alternative for Kenyans seeking specialized care abroad as a form of medical tourism and equally providing exchange programs between Kenyan and Polish doctors on best practices of e-health.