Against the backdrop of limited public spending and a growing burden of care for an expanding population, there are substantial opportunities for private investment in Nigeria’s health sector. The breakdown of health care financing in the country points to the scope for increased private sector participation: development partners account for 4% of the total, compared to 69% in out-of- pocket expenditure, 24% in government spending and a 3% contribution from private insurance.

In terms of physical infrastructure, the country requires an estimated $82bn in real estate investment and an additional 386,000 hospital beds to reach the global average bed-to- population ratio of 2.7 per 1000 people, according to a 2020 Knight Frank report. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are often used as a model by the federal and state governments for health care investment. As a recent example, Lagos State is currently building a $247.3m facility, called Medical Park, with 120-150 beds under a PPP structure.

Expanding access to health insurance is an important corollary to investment in hard health infrastructure as a means of fostering a significant base of patients. “Expenditure on health care in Nigeria is $15bn annually, and most of that – about 75% – is paid out of pocket by patients,” Tosin Runsewe, founder and CEO of Nigeria-based AfyA Care, told local media in early 2021. “Less than 5% of the population has health insurance, so the opportunity to grow health coverage is considerable.”

Many medical consumables are imported, pointing to another area that is ripe for investment to develop local production capacity for items such as syringes, bandages and dressings, needles and catheters, among others. Given the difficulty of sourcing foreign exchange and other barriers to trade, locally produced medical goods are an attractive alternative for buyers at hospitals and clinics.

“There are so many things in the supply chain, from delivering medical care to profitable ventures, that will interest financiers,” Akin Oyediran, managing director of Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company, told local media in early 2022. “If we do not start manufacturing things, we might be back to where we were before the pandemic struck.”

Read Full Report in online reader