Strengthening Health Systems in Africa Through Blended Finance
On April 13, 2023, IPE Global under the USAID-supported PAHAL project organized a half-day event in Hotel Kempinski, Nairobi, Kenya in partnership with Africa Health Business (AHB). The event opened discussions on enabling access to affordable capital for catalyzing impact through healthcare enterprises and promoting cross-border knowledge exchange. The event was attended by over 70 participants. These included key dignitaries representing government & health ministries, policymakers, development partners, private sector organizations, financial institutions, start-ups and non-governmental organizations from both India and Africa. These stakeholders are crucial to drive and influence positive change. The event provided an opportunity for South-South collaboration for addressing common health sector challenges in the two regions.
Key Highlights of the Event:
The welcome address was delivered by Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Executive Chairman, AHB, and Mr. Himanshu Sikka, Projector Director, PAHAL and Chief Strategy & Diversification Officer, IPE Global. They welcomed the guests and provided an overview of the PAHAL program and SAMRIDH Blended Finance Facility. They also spoke about the joint work carried out by IPE Global and AHB under the PAHAL program over the last year – specifically focusing on market access and business advisory support provided to select SAMRIDH entities who focused on strengthening medical supply chains in East Africa.
Mr. Rohit Vadhwana, Deputy High Commissioner, India High Commission spoke about the relationship between the two countries and how that could be strengthened. He shared his perspective on the healthcare challenges in the region and how potential cross-border collaborations and technology transfers could be one of the ways forward for the region. Mr. Vadhwana also spoke about the large-scale insurance schemes in both countries and their potential to impact lives.
Mr. John Kuehnle, Director, Health, Population and Nutrition Office, USAID Kenya & East Africa, gave an overall perspective on the healthcare financing challenges in the region and placed blended finance as a potential and effective solution for addressing them.
Ms. Halima Yusuf, Technical Officer, Ministry of Health, Kenya spoke about government priorities and focus areas, the scope for innovation, and the private sector’s participation. She also highlighted the importance of collaboration between philanthropic, public, and private stakeholders to achieve health goals of the country.
Ms. Sangita Patel, Director – Health Office, USAID/India, spoke about the changing healthcare landscape. Speaking about the conceptualization and the three-year journey of SAMRIDH Blended Finance Facility, she emphasized learnings on innovation and blended finance from India could be adapted to the local context in Africa. She also highlighted the role and importance of collaborations and partnerships across various stakeholder groups.
Launch of Report on Market Assessment of Blended Finance Solutions
Eminent guest speakers Mr. Rohit Wadhwana, Ms. Halima Yusuf, Mr. John Kuehnle, Ms. Sangita Patel, Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Mr. Himanshu Sikka jointly launched the report on “Market Assessment of Blended Finance Solutions”. The report, which was developed by Health Finance Institute, highlights key blended finance models and provides a blended finance readiness analysis and stakeholder engagement and strategy analysis.
Collaboration Announcement Between AHB and IPE Global
The collaboration between the two organizations on the following aspects was announced at the event:
- Setting up of a blended finance facility for East Africa
- Promoting cross-border knowledge and technology transfer
- Supporting cross-border partnerships for successful innovations
Panel Discussion on Enabling Access to Blended Finance
The discussion focused on applicability and adoption of various innovative financing mechanisms that enable access to affordable capital for healthcare enterprises working to strengthen and enhance the capacity of the health system in Africa. The key panel members included Mr. Alex Kimani, Regional Investment Advisor, USAID Kenya & East Africa; Mr. Ken Muriungi, Investment Associate, LeapFrog Investments; Mr. Steve Njenga, Head of Investments and Transactions, Villgro; Ms. Catherine Mwaniki, Senior Relationship Manager, Healthcare, KCB; and Ms. Micheline Ntiru, Senior Advisor, Convergence. The session was moderated by Ms. Aanchal Jain, Senior Manager, PAHAL – Innovative Financing Platform. The panel members highlighted the opportunities, challenges, and way forward to enable access to affordable capital to strengthen healthcare in Africa.
Panel Discussion on Promoting Cross-border Knowledge Transmission
The panel discussion focused on cross-border knowledge transmission and technology transfer in the African context. Pathways to open prospects for innovations in both regions through exploration of international markets with similar needs and creation of market linkage opportunities were also discussed.
The key panel members included Dr. Amit N. Thakker, Dr Kanyenje Gakombe, Chairperson, Kenya Healthcare Federation, Dr. Daphne Ngunjiri, CEO, Access Afya, Ms. Sheena Raikundalia, Country Director, UK Kenya Tech Hub, and Dr. Daniella Munene, Head, External Affairs, AHB.
Key learnings from the discussion were:
- Programs / Projects should be demand and data-driven
- Government should increase the budget for public health
- Collaboration to complement efforts is the key to success
Experience Sharing by Project Funded Entities – Blackfrog Technologies and Arficus
At the event, we showcased innovations that are successfully getting into cross-border partnerships. The entities shared their experience of how blended finance instruments have helped them scale and expand to new geographies.
Blackfrog Technologies is the manufacturer of Emvólio, a portable, battery-powered refrigeration device. The device strictly maintains any preset temperature for over 12 hours and serves as a critical tool for last mile transport of vaccines. Arficus, an India-based healthcare startup business has an artificial intelligence (AI) Disease Screening/Diagnostics/Prediction SaaS-SAMD platform named Medhini.
Agenda of the Event
|9:00 – 9:10 am
|Dr Amit N. Thaker, Executive Chairman, African Health Business
Mr Himanshu Sika, Chief Strategy & Diversification Officer, IPE Global | Project Director, PAHAL
|9:10 – 9:30 am
|Special Address and launch of blended finance platform and market assessment report
|Mr Rohit Vadhwana, Deputy High Commissioner, India High Commission
Dr Isabel Maina, Head of Health Financing, Ministry of Health Kenya
Ms Sangita Patel, Director – Health Office, USAID – India
Mr John Kuehnle, Director, Health, Population and Nutrition Office, USAID Kenya & East Africa
|9:30 – 9:45 am
|Dr Amit N. Thakker, Executive Chairman, Africa Health Business
Mr Himanshu Sikka, Chief Strategy & Diversification Officer, IPE Global | Project Director, PAHAL
|9:45 – 10:35 am
|Discussion – Enabling access to blended finance
|Mr Steve Nienga, Head of Investments and Transactions . Villgro
Ms Catherine Mwaniki, Senior Relationship Manager, Healthcare, KCB.
Ms Micheline Ntiru, Senior Advisor, Convergence
Mr Alex Kimari Regional Investment Advisor, USAID Kenya & East Africa
Mr Ken Muriuns Investment Associate, LeapFrog Investments
Ms Aanchal Jain, Senior Manager, PAHAL – Innovative Financing Platform (Moderator)
|10:35 – 10:45 am
|Experience sharing 1
|Mr Donson Dsouza, Co-Founder & Chief of Operations, Blackfrog Technologies
|10:45 – 11:00 am
|11:00 – 11:50 am
|Discussion – Promoting cross border knowledge transmission
|Dr Amit N. Thaker, Executive Chairman, Africa Health Business
Dr Kanyenje Gakombe, Chairperson, Kenya Healthcare Federation
Dr Daphne Ngunjiri, CEO, Access Afya
Ms Sheena Raikundalia, Country Director, UK Kenya Tech Hub
Dr Daniella Munene, Head, External Affairs, AHB (Moderator)
|11:50 – 12:05 pm
|Experience sharing 2
|Mr Sandeep Sinha, Founder & CEO, Arficus
|12:05 – 12:35 pm
|Vote of Thanks
|12:35 – 2:00 pm
|Lunch and networking
SESSION PANELISTS :
|Dr. Amit N. Thakker
Executive Chairman, African Health Business
|Mr Himanshu Sika
Chief Strategy & Diversification Officer, IPE Global | Project Director, PAHAL
|Mr Rohit Vadhwana
Deputy High Commissioner, India High Commission
|Dr Isabel Maina
Head of Health Financing, Ministry of Health Kenya
|Ms Sangita Patel
Director – Health Office, USAID – India
|Mr John Kuehnle
Director, Health, Population and Nutrition Office, USAID Kenya & East Africa
|Mr Steve Nienga
Head of Investments and Transactions . Villgro
|Ms Catherine Mwaniki
Senior Relationship Manager, Healthcare, KCB
|Ms Micheline Ntiru
Senior Advisor, Convergence
|Mr Alex Kimari
Regional Investment Advisor, USAID Kenya & East Africa
|Mr Ken Muriuns
Investment Associate, LeapFrog Investments
|Ms Aanchal Jain
Senior Manager, PAHAL – Innovative Financing Platform (Moderator)
|Mr Donson Dsouza
Co-Founder & Chief of Operations, Blackfrog Technologies
|Dr Kanyenje Gakombe
Chairperson, Kenya Healthcare Federation
|Dr Daphne Ngunjiri
CEO, Access Afya
|Ms Sheena Raikundalia
Country Director, UK Kenya Tech Hub
|Dr Daniella Munene
Head, External Affairs, AHB (Moderator)
|Mr Sandeep Sinha
Founder & CEO, Arficus
Strengthening Health Systems in Africa Through Blended Finance
Impact Investors Council