Building our business gives us more to reinvest in the healthcare ecosystem. Across Africa, there is a severe shortage of skilled frontline health workers; and particularly in rural areas, health facilities are few and far between. Since 2009, we have reinvested 20% of profits generated in the least developed countries back into strengthening their health systems. In the West Africa region that I lead, this has enabled us to support training of frontline health workers across countries including Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ultimately, we hope this will act as a catalyst for others to see the value of investing in strong health systems.
Building on these measures, we are taking steps to help deliver long-term access to healthcare and sustainable business growth. Investments in local warehousing and manufacturing on the continent will help ensure a steady source of affordable medicines and employment – and enhance regional supply chains. We are piloting novel approaches such as social enterprise in Zambia to support community agents selling healthcare products door-to-door. Supporting scientific research and academic programs in areas such as analytical chemistry should strengthen Africa’s knowledge base.
These measures are all a powerful illustration of our philosophy that stimulating innovation, widening access and driving business success can all go hand-in-hand. This is all underpinned by a long-term mindset, and a recognition that the countries where we operate will one day emerge as vibrant economies yielding some of the world’s greatest achievements. Through reshaping our own practices and working in innovative collaborations with other organizations, we can help create the kind of healthy marketplace that could unlock Africa’s human and economic potential.
This post is part of the #MarketsMatter expert blog series. Read the full series