People in Sub-Saharan Africa have the worst health, on average, in the world. The region has 11 percent of the world’s population but carries 24 percent of the global disease burden. With less than 1 percent of global health expenditure and only 3 percent of the world’s health workers, Africa accounts for almost half the world’s deaths of children under five, has the highest maternal mortality rate, and bears a heavy toll from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The region lacks the infrastructure to provide even basic health care to many of its people. The scale of the challenge is driving a reassessment of traditional approaches and a growing acceptance that the private sector should be a key part of the region’s overall health strategy.
According to a recent IFC report, The Business of Health in Africa: Partnering with the Private Sector to Improve People's Lives, spending on health in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double over the next 10 years. Investments of $25-30 billion will be needed to meet the demand, with the private sector playing a key role. IFC is working with local businesses, financial intermediaries, policymakers, donors and other stakeholders to help Africa meet these challenges.
Education is also a challenge in the continent. Private schools face major development constraints due to the limited availability of medium- and long- term financing for capital investments. Many schools also require advisory services to improve their financial, managerial, and administrative capabilities, and to improve operational efficiency. IFC is working closely with schools and financial institutions to address these needs.