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ECA's forthcoming “Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa” report

On the sidelines of this year’s UN General Assembly meeting, a meeting took place to discuss the preliminary findings of the ECA's forthcoming “Healthcare and Economic Growth in Africa” report, which addresses ‘public-private partnerships’ and calls for more African private sector involvement in healthcare. The full report is due for release next year. The sideline discussion was organized by the Economic Commission for Africa’s executive secretary, Vera Songwe, the Aliko Dangote Foundation (the corporate social responsibility arm of the Dangote Group), and GBCHealth, whose board includes Coronation Capital Nigeria Limited, Becton, Dickinson & Co., Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Deloitte Consulting, and MTV Networks International). ECA reports that “the preliminary report finds that neither government nor existing public-private partnerships are effective enough, and that existing PPPs disproportionately focus on a small number of countries. The preliminary report recommends a new model, one in which PPPs prioritize around the most significant disease burden and broaden their scope to benefit the health of the whole continent, which the ECA deems critical to driving long-term economic growth in Africa.”

Learning from Africa’s Experience of Privatization

To coincide with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S., during which concerns were voiced about his stated intention to engage in widespread privatization of state-owned enterprises, Ewnetu Haile takes a look back over the recent history of privatization in Africa, periodizing it and offering some suggestions as to why it slowed or ground to a halt in the past. “Unsuccessful privatization programs are associated with high levels of corruption, poor value for money to the tax payer and increasing levels of inequality. On the contrary, the [LSE] paper notes, positive indicators for success would include strong government ownership of the process, well-designed and sequenced reforms, the implementation of complementary policies, the creation of regulatory capacity and good corporate governance structures, attention to poverty and social impacts, and strong public communication.” He adds that “privatizing health care and public transport may not be as successful as the profit motive is less important than public interest.”


Human Right to Health Campaign in Southern & French-speaking Africa

As the government moves towards privatizing public health services (while denying it is doing so), criticism mounts: “From 7 to 8 February, a sub-regional seminar initiated by the Public Services International (PSI) and the National Federation of Public Service Unions of Togo brought together in Lomé journalists and trade union and civil society actors from Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, DR Congo, Nigeria, Niger and Guinea Conakry. And it was around the theme ‘Public Private Partnership and the Right to Health.’ (…) Participants expressed serious concern: ‘Does the form of contracting in question, in particular the PPP, guarantee the supply and access to quality care to which all Togolese citizens are entitled? What would explain the non-involvement of all social partners, civil society and users in the ongoing contracting process?’ To this end, workshop participants ‘express deep concern about the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of such an approach for Togo, and ask the government to open a wide consultation with all stakeholders, including trade unions, civil society organizations and especially users, with a view to an inclusive, participatory and transparent process, call for the establishment of a national basis on this PPP contracting process as soon as possible."


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