Africa’s fragile health systems are struggling to cope with rapidly rising demand and insufficient investment. 

Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases are longstanding challenges on the continent that have been worsened by poverty and malnutrition. New shocks like COVID-19 have energized the debate around transforming Africa’s health care systems so they can best serve everyone. 

The private sector has an important role to play in this transformation. For example, private hospitals and clinics can remove the burden from cash-strapped public systems and introduce innovative solutions to meet 21st century challenges.

Attracting private sector investment and expertise into Africa’s health sector will, however, require market creation, wider social insurance coverage, increased public-private engagement, and an improved regulatory environment.

IFC’s support for Africa’s health sector is delivered through both direct investments and advisory services. IFC finances health care providers, the life sciences industry, and medical device manufacturers and new technologies.

As of June 2020, IFC had an active portfolio of more than $2 billion in health care companies in emerging markets, including more than $165 million in sub-Saharan Africa. 

IFC's IQ-Healthcare Tool is a diagnostic tool that helps health care providers improve patient safety, align practices with global quality standards, and build safe health infrastructure. IFC also seeks to improve operating practices related to ethics and family rights, governance and leadership, facilities management, general safety, and human resources.

The Ethical Principles in Health Care, or EPiHC, are a set of principles that IFC has developed to drive ethical and responsible conduct in the private health care sector in emerging markets. IFC is encouraging health care organizations around the world to sign on to the principles and has created an independent secretariat to provide support and guidance on implementation.

The health of Africa’s economies and societies ultimately depends on the health of its people. For this reason, IFC has made strengthening healthcare systems in Africa a priority.   


Expanding access to quality tertiary education provides longer-term benefits of reduced income inequality and increased social mobility through greater access to jobs.

IFC invests in quality tertiary education and technology-based education solutions to strengthen human capital and enable people to prosper and be productive in rapidly changing economies.

In Africa, IFC’s work includes supporting innovative educational models and approaches—including the digital skills needed to succeed for work—and regulatory reform to level the playing field and promote online education and cross-border activity.

IFC’s financing and advisory services complement the work of the private sector in education and help create more opportunities. IFC also supports collaboration between the public and private sectors to improve access to quality education.

Investing in Africa’s education sector today will return sizable social and economic dividends tomorrow, helping the continent better compete—and succeed—in an increasingly globalized world.