Could Sub-Saharan Africa be the next land of opportunity for device makers?
Brazil, Russia, India, and China are often referred to as emerging markets, but in many ways, these markets have already emerged. Medtech companies have been stacking their chips on the BRICs for some time, so where will device makers place their bets next?
At a CEOs Unplugged session at AdvaMed 2013, Covidien CEO Joe Almeida offered some suggestions as to what places could be the next global hotspots for medtech investment. He called out Turkey, South Africa, and Mexico as three markets that are starting to show promise.
But beyond Latin America and Asia, he said Sub-Saharan Africa offers opportunity for device makers.
The region, which consists of all of Africa minus Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, is perhaps better known as a place of poverty and political turmoil than a healthcare hotbed. But with a population of more than 910 million (nearly three times the population of the United States and only three million shy of India) and GDP of $1.29 trillion (a little less than that of Spain and slightly above that of Mexico), Sub-Saharan Africa might just be medtech’s next frontier. With average life expectancy there at only 56 years, it’s obvious that the region’s healthcare system is underdeveloped, to say the least.
Almeida admitted medtech companies aren’t likely to make it rich in Sub-Saharan Africa overnight. “It’s a 10 to 15 year play, but eventually there will be more organization and government stability,” he says.
Medtech companies aren’t exactly rushing to invest in Sub-Saharan Africa yet, but for those with vision, it could be the next land of opportunity.
“When you make investments in emerging markets, sometimes it feels lonely, but that’s where you need to be,” Almeida said.
—Jamie Hartford, managing editorJamie.email@example.com
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