African Heads of State and Government, business leaders and executives from global health organisations will gather Sunday in Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa to launch a new initiative designed to help deliver increased, sustained and more impactful financing for health across Africa.
President Paul Kagame, who doubles as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), is expected to chair the conference, according to a statement from the organisers.
The conference is expected to be graced by Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway; António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dubbed the Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health, it will be a platform bringing together governments, private sector and the global development community to coordinate and accelerate progress toward achieving universal health coverage.
It will take place ahead of the 32nd African Union Summit, which begins Monday through Tuesday next week.
According to the 2018 WHO Global Health Expenditure Database, African countries are gradually increasing domestic investments in health with 35 out of 55 AU Member States having increased the percentage of their Gross Domestic Product invested in health over the previous financial year.
These increased investments have seen visible results in communities across Africa with shining examples of strengthened sub-national and national health systems.
However, while African countries have made huge strides in increasing domestic investments in health, only two out of the 55 AU Member States meet Africa’s target of dedicating at least 15 per cent of the national budget to health and do not reach the recommended threshold of $86.30 per person required to provide a basic package of health services.
The organisers argue that for the world’s most youthful continent, the future growth and prosperity will depend on developing and nurturing human capital.
Yet, more than half of Africa’s population currently lacks access to essential health services, while millions die every year from commonly preventable diseases.
Organisers say the conference seeks to serve as a platform for participants to deliberate on possible ways of changing the current situation, and attracting the private sector and development community to increase their commitments toward promoting the continent’s healthcare system.