Editor’s Note: February 12, 2019

All talk and no action on healthcare in Africa

African heads of state and business leaders have launched a new initiative aimed at boosting healthcare spending at a high profile event during the African Union’s annual summit in Ethiopia this week.

Billed as the first of its kind the goal is to bring together business, governments and multilateral institutions to fix the continent’s failing healthcare sector.

Africa accounts for 3% of the global health workforce and less than 1% of expenditure, and carries 24% of the global disease burden. In 2015 more than five million people on the continent died from communicable conditions, while the World Health Organization expects noncommunicable diseases to cause an additional 28m deaths by 2030.

African leaders routinely seek treatment abroad – even for minor conditions – illustrating the inadequacy of healthcare systems.

More funding is overdue, but there’s a problem with this initiative. It’s not new.

In 2001 African governments signed the Abuja Declaration, pledging to increase healthcare spending to at least 15% of their annual budget. Eighteen years later two countries have done so, with most falling well short.

Why this ‘new’ initiative will be different is unclear.

With some luck lessons have been learned from the now presumably abandoned Abuja Declaration, which will be applied going forward.

Let’s hope so.

From The Continent

Martin Fayulu, the runner-up in Democratic Republic of Congo’s disputed December presidential election, has called for fresh polls within six months. The vote saw rival Felix Tshisekedi declared the winner in what critics say was a backroom deal with outgoing president Joseph Kabila. More: Africanews


South Africa’s struggling power utility Eskom is implementing a series of blackouts this week, following the announcement of a plan by president Cyril Ramaphosa to help stabilize the company. This is part of wider efforts by the government to improve governance at its state-owned enterprises. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Stat

7.3%

Tanzania’s expected GDP growth in 2019 according to its central bank. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Mozambique expects  a final investment decision on its Area 1 offshore natural gas project, one of the world’s biggest recent discoveries, by March or April. The block is estimated to contain up to 75 trillion cubic feet of gas. More: Reuters

The European Investment Bank has said it agreed a record $3.74bn of new financing for infrastructure and private sector development in Africa in 2018. The EU is ramping up investment on the continent, primarily aimed at curbing migration. More: EIB

The Daily Follow