The African Pharmaceutical Market : What The Numbers Say

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The African Pharmaceutical market is one of the fastest growing sectors as compared to other developing countries and the continent represents one of the only frontier markets where growth is still possible. The African market is not a centralized market but consists of 54 distinct markets with varying dynamics and understanding each one will be key to brand penetration and access to their patients.

According to data from McKinsey, study show that the African Pharmaceutical industry grew from $5b in 2007 to $28.56b in 2017 and according to Goldstein research, this is projected to hit $50 – $160b by 2030.

Factors Attracting International Interest Into the African Health Market

  • Rapid urbanization.
  • Increasing middle class population.
  • Emergence of chronic lifestyle diseases.
  • Increasing local investment in healthcare.


Importation and Lifestyle

Additionally, Africa imports more than 80% of its pharmaceutical and medical consumables and the expiration of some blockbuster drug patents can offer fresh opportunities for generic drug production or even more generic imports [a gap currently occupied by Indian companies] to thrive in the continent.

“Africa imports more than 80% of its pharmaceutical and medical consumables “


The tropical climate makes Africa a breeding ground for infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, AIDS, polio, meningitis, cholera, influenza, yellow fever, measles, tetanus, and other endemic pathogens waiting to precipitate another demand for increased hospitalization and need for medical aid. The stimulated need for generic drug production or importation will not only have positive implications on the economy, but it will also potentiate the increased access to medicines for neglected diseases as well as reduce the risk of emerging health crises.

More so, the adoption of western lifestyle in Africa has contributed to the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This will in turn drive the demand for chronic prescription drugs. Hence, a need for more investments in this emerging market.

The stagnation in the develop markets have led companies to sought for new ways of growth in the emerging markets like Africa. Despite the prognosis, it is still an early call and companies with keen interest in this sector can take these steps to gain competitive edge:

  • Focus on pockets of growth
  • Liaise with, and build strong local teams
  • Forge partnerships that address supply chain challenges.

In summary, every country is market-specific so understanding the dynamics of that market in detail will be a definite success measure. Africa will experience exponential growth and now is the time to make that key business decision or deal with the consequences of sitting on the sidelines.

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