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Monday, July 29, 2013

DHL identifies Africa as the next frontier for healthcare sector

CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, July 29, 2013 Over the past decade the global life sciences sector has experienced healthy growth. The world market for pharmaceuticals, for example, has doubled within a decade, reaching a value of about USD 1 trillion, and is expected to grow by another 3 to 6 per cent per annum until 2016.

This huge demand, has been particularly strong in the mature markets of Europe and North America, which has now infiltrated the more dynamic emerging markets including China, Russia and India, but is particularly relevant in Africa, which is positioned as the next frontier for the healthcare sector. 

This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (, who says that Africa has seen tremendous growth in the life sciences and healthcare sector over the past years, as well as investment into the development of healthcare, especially in the logistics sector, as a result of this shift.

“Companies are increasingly turning to Africa due to the opportunities that the continent offers as it is one of the few locations that can still obtain double digit economic growth. The life sciences logistics model in Africa is therefore changing drastically as, in the last two and a half years, we have seen major growth in hubs like Kenya, servicing East Africa, and South Africa, which plays a key role for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries; in addition to direct shipments into specific countries, as the capabilities grow within the region.”

Referencing DHL’s recent report on key logistics developments in the healthcare sector for 2020 and beyond, entitled Key Logistics Trends in Life Sciences 2020+, Rahavendra says that this growth in Africa can be attributed to Sub Saharan Africa’s increased life expectancy, rate of urbanisation and rise of the middle class. “While Sub-Saharan Africa comprises of 12% of the global population, the region comprises of 24% of the global healthcare burden.”

Rahavendra says that another contributor to this shift is ecommerce growth in the pharmaceutical industry. 

“The healthcare sector will ultimately follow the technology sector as where there is communication, there is ability. Therefore, as technology capabilities roll out in the country, so will healthcare capabilities.

“With technology continuingly evolving, there is talk that consumers will likely soon be able to self-medicate and order over the counter drugs via their cellphones or the internet. These sorts of developments have the potential to drastically change both the healthcare, and logistics, sector.”

However with the current shift in the sector, Rahavendra explains that there are key challenges that need to be met based on the current developments. “Increasing differentiation of supply chains and the need for companies to keep their supply chain flexible to adapt to requirements of innovative products is a key challenge.

“As innovation in the pharmaceutical industry shifts towards specialties and biotech products, so does the need for temperature controlled, and monitored, cold chain transport and storage, historically only required for shipments of vaccines and blood fractions.”

He says that due to the combination of increasing regulatory demands, the focus on emerging markets, and new product requirements, notably around temperature management, and cost pressures, the life sciences and healthcare sector is accelerating its emphasis on driving supply chain transformation and differentiation.

“Despite these hurdles, we are confident that the life sciences and healthcare sector will continue to flourish in upcoming years due to the on-going investment and development on the African continent,” concludes Rahavendra. “The future is bright for Africa, and the healthcare sector will be one of its star performers.”

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10% public investments in agriculture still low – CAADP official

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has said that the current public investments of 10 per cent in agriculture, across Africa’s national budgets remain small.

This is coming as agriculture is reportedly back on the political-policy agenda across the continent, although the 10 per cent budget allocation to agriculture remains inadequate.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that CAADP's goal is to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture and as a way of achieving this goal, African governments agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets and to raise agricultural productivity by at least 6 per cent by the year 2015.

Speaking, however, in Addis Ababa recently, the Head, NEPAD Mr. Martin Bwalya, told a high-level session of African leaders and International partners, that the 10 per cent national budget allocation to agriculture is still very low, despite “Agriculture is back to the political-policy agenda.”

Also, he said, that as ways of aadvancing CAADP implementation strategies in the last 10 years there are some key results that have impacted on the initiative, namely that 43 out of 54 countries are actively engaged in the process.

Additionally, he said that 28 investment plans have been developed so far with 27 business meetings held while 31 countries seemed compacted to the scheme.

Proffering further sustainable modules, he said that spotlights on the social protection integral to a growth and development agenda are no longer negotiable, just as cconsistent and coherent African vision, agenda and positions could serve as a boost to democratic governments and improved public finances-revenue, thereby seeing to improved planning for CAADP.

Urbanization across Africa is expected to grow to 50 per cent by 2013, while youthful population, that is 40 per cent for ages under 23 years, even as globalisation based on food and energy prices as well as climate change must be tackled to make a difference.

Further, he pointed out that growing political commitment to increased budgetary allocations was another boost for CAADP initiative, emphasising that regional integration and coordination based on evidence-based and peer-reviewed agricultural plans and programmes would go a long way in checkmating the food insecurity in Africa.

“Poverty, hunger and malnutrition are one of the most critical factors pulling down Africa socio-economic growth and development,” he observed.

Remmy Nweke
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Monday, July 22, 2013

CNN Travel outlines top 10 African golf courses

Africa is fast becoming an attractive option for fans of this privileged sport of golf as the continent prides of over 800 golf courses.
However, CNN Travel this week,  goes beyond the green in a special online feature that uncovers the very best golf courses the continent has to offer a peek of top 10 African golf courses by country:
Ø      The Cascades course at Soma Bay, Hurghada, Egypt
Ø      The Heritage Golf Club, Bel Ombre, Mauritius
Ø      Le Touessrok golf course, Ile Aux Cerfs, Mauritius
Ø      Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, El Jadida, Morocco
Ø      Windhoek Golf & Country Club, Namibia
Ø      Lemuria Resort golf course, Praslin Island, the Seychelles
Ø      Fancourt Links golf course, George, Western Cape, South Africa
Ø      The Gary Player Country Club course, Sun City, South Africa
Ø      Flamingo golf course, Monastir, Tunisia
   Ø      Leopard Rock Golf Resort, Mutare, Zimbabwe

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Nigeria to explore Chinese rice varieties

Dr. Adesina in a handshake with Prof. Long Pin
The Federal Government may have concluded plans to explore Chinese rice varieties, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

He disclosed this during a meeting with Chinese rice scientist, Professor Yuan Long Pin on Thursday in the city of Beijing as part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s delegation to the Asian nation.

NaijaAgroNet notes that Prof. Long Pin is reputed for successfully breeding rice that has improved production to 7.5 metric tons per hectare.

This achievement, NaijaAgroNet also gathered helped China on the path of food security through his expertise.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

CTA hosts hackathon on agriculture

The Centre for Technical Agriculture (CTA) is offering East African computer programmers a fantastic opportunity to display their skills in a four-day hackathon, says Ken Lohento, the Programme Coordinator on Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) at CTA.

He also told NaijaAgroNet that the hackathon will take place from 4-8 November in Kigali, Rwanda as a parallel event to the ICT4Ag conference, adding that the competitors would be expected to develop ICT applications that offer solutions to key agriculture information challenges.

Lohento disclosed to NaijaAgroNet that CTA is organising this hackathon in partnership with East African ICT hubs and labs (iHubs), stressing that the iHubs will each propose teams of two or three people, including developers and designers, to compete in the hackathon.

According to him, the top three applications develop and the iHubs supporting them will receive a substantial prize including cash awards, capacity building and incubation opportunities. In addition, the winning applications will be showcased at the ICT4Ag awards dinner.

He explained that this hackathon, is the first for CTA, as a pilot exercise with the aim to highlight the potential of ICT applications in agriculture and to support the development of ICT innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture especially by young people.

In order to ensure that the applications developed meet the needs of those in agriculture in East Africa and that the developers have the opportunity to further refine and launch the applications after the event, CTA are involving, from the start, key East African stakeholders.

International organisations supporting agricultural development, business development or ICT services will also be consulted, while they will contribute to the identification of the agricultural challenges to be used in the hackathon.

“They will also assist in the design of strategies enabling the adoption of the winning application,” he said, emphasizing that a planning meeting will take place from 16-17 July in Rwanda to prepare for the hackathon.

Remmy Nweke
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