Kenya health sector attracts increasing foreign direct investments

Source: Coastweek

Saturday, 27 September 2014

by Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua)

Foreign direct investments into the Kenyan health sector have tripled thanks to conducive policy and legislative environment alongside demand for quality services among the burgeoning middle classes, officials have said.

Ann Kirima, Chairperson of Kenya Investment Corporation (Keinvest), said Kenya has become a hub for medical technologies and innovations due to capital injection from multinationals.

“Huge investments flow into the health sector will benefit the government and citizens. As a government, we have rolled out an array of incentives to encourage investments in health care,” said Kirima.

She spoke during the Medic East Africa Conference held in Nairobi to showcase medical technologies and essential drugs to treat modern ailments.

An estimated 250 exhibitors and 800 visitors from 45 countries attended conference.

Multinational giants have eyed the Kenyan health sector to supply medical equipment and essential drugs. Kirima noted that the health sector currently ranks second after renewable energy in terms of foreign direct investments.

“During the U.S.-African leaders’ summit in August, investors were interested in our health sector and promised to pitch tent in the country soon.

“Healthcare is the next frontier for rapid investments,” Kirima told delegates.

The Kenyan government has mulled strategic partnership with the private sector to revamp health systems and train additional personnel. Kirima said the government has considered tax breaks to attract investors in the health sector.

“We are also discussing the possibility of leasing medical equipments from private companies to meet health challenges in the underserved regions,”she said, adding that a policy on public private partnership will help bridge financing shortfalls in the health sector.

The Kenyan health sector has experienced rapid transformation thanks to domestic and foreign investments. According to Amit Thakker, CEO of Kenya Healthcare Federation, Kenya has copied models from middle income countries to develop a vibrant health sector.

“Health is a basic right for every Kenyan but the government alone cannot deliver quality service.

“The private sector has a critical role to reshape health care provision in any country,” Thakker said.

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