The International Finance Corporation has sealed a deal to help small businesses in Africa purchase essential medical equipment and strengthen their response to the Coronavirus disease and other pressing healthcare challenges.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, explained on Thursday that it was partnering a health technology company, Philips, and the Co-operative Bank of Kenya
The partnerships, which is first under the Africa Medical Equipment Facility, is designed to provide risk-sharing facilities to help small businesses access up to $300m in loans and leases, IFC said.
Through the facility, IFC is also partnering with medical equipment manufacturers and local financial institutions to support healthcare providers in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, the world bank group member stated.
The loan size to smaller healthcare providers, which serve more than half of Africa’s population, including low-income patients, is expected to range from $5,000 to $2m, to help them lease or purchase equipment, it added.
As it were, most of the smaller healthcare operators in Africa cannot secure bank loans due to their perceived high investment risks, IFC noted.
“Many smaller healthcare businesses in Africa don’t have the equipment they need to respond to COVID-19 and deliver other vital services.
“Unlocking access to finance can save lives now and will, in the long term, strengthen healthcare systems across the continent,” IFC’s Managing Director, Makhtar Diop, said.
Health Systems Leader, Philips Africa, Winfried Jansen, said, “Philips aims to contribute substantially to improving healthcare in Africa through innovative solutions tailored to local needs.”
Risk-sharing is an effective instrument to encourage financial institutions to lend to small businesses.
Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Co-operative Bank of Kenya, Dr Gideon Muriuki, added, “This partnership with IFC and Philips will allow Co-operative Bank to extend credit to a wider range of investors in the health sector, who previously have found credit availability a challenge.”
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