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Tough Recessionary Times, but Frost & Sullivan Believes It's Not All Gloomy for African Healthcare Markets
Date:4/2/2009

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The global financial crisis, which had its origins in developed countries, is finally spreading to the developing corners of the world. Although African economies initially appeared insulated from this global turmoil, most African economies have started to feel the pinch in 2009.

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Whilst some sectors such as mining are already hard-hit, the full impact of the crisis on certain sectors will largely depend on its duration and depth. This applies particularly to the healthcare sector, which has been impacted to varying degrees across the continent.

"The effects of the economic downturn trickle into the healthcare sector via two basic channels: rising health costs and constrained healthcare resources," notes Frost & Sullivan healthcare analyst Ishe Zingoni. "For manufacturers of medical products, these are the two fundamental impediments to growth. In typical African economies, the first of these two factors responds much faster to general economic downturns than the latter."

The majority of African currencies have fallen drastically against the US dollar as commodity prices have tumbled. The consequences of this have been higher import costs and a proportionate rise in the cost of health products in local currencies.

"Given that close to 95 percent of all medical device products in Africa are imported, this is restricting the uptake of these products," Zingoni notes. "Although a significant 30 percent of pharmaceutical drugs are manufactured locally, the need to import raw materials certainly means it is still the end-users that will ultimately bear the brunt of cost increases."

The second crucial factor impacting on the African healthcare industry is the lower levels of
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan
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