(PROPARCO ) - To strengthen diagnostic capacity and the health response to COVID-19 in Africa, including in some of the continent’s poorest and most fragile countries, IFC, Proparco, and Cerba Lancet Africa today announced a partnership to increase patient access to a range of laboratory tests.
Expanding access to diagnostics and laboratory testing is a critical part of tackling COVID-19, which has exposed vulnerabilities in health systems across Africa and the need for increased testing and laboratory services.
Financial support from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD), will reinforce Cerba Lancet Africa’s ability to upgrade its existing diagnostics laboratories in Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
The funding will also allow Cerba Lancet Africa to add new facilities across Africa, particularly in countries with limited diagnostic services. The company’s planned expansion will focus on the poorest and most fragile countries in the region.
IFC and Proparco are providing Cerba Lancet Africa with a €15 million debt facility comprising a €7.5 million loan from IFC’s own account and a parallel loan of €7.5 million from Proparco. The loans will be supported by a first-loss guarantee from the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window (IDA PSW) Blended Finance Facility.
The project is part of IFC’s and Proparco’s COVID-19 response aimed at supporting developing countries and health stakeholders to fight the coronavirus pandemic and support long-term health and economic recovery.
“Access to diagnostics is a vital part of the COVID-19 response. Accurate diagnostics is essential to providing patients with high quality care and ensuring they receive the right treatment,” said Stéphane Carré, CEO of Cerba Lancet Africa. “This partnership illustrates our common will to actively and continually adapt the company’s assets to respond to the needs of this rapidly evolving pandemic.”
“Many countries in Africa need increased laboratory capacity to meet the surging demand for coronavirus and other medical tests. Investing in diagnostics allows healthcare providers to deliver essential and vital medical support to patients, improving long-term health outcomes,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC's Managing Director.
“This partnership supports the development of a pan-African medical biology group in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Grégory Clemente, CEO of Proparco. “It will increase testing capacity in Africa helping to address some of the major diagnosis challenges amid the current health crisis. Proparco is pleased to support Cerba HealthCare, a French laboratory, in its international development through the African continent and its contribution to the COVID-19 response in Africa.”
Cerba Lancet Africa currently operates in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa serving more than 1.6 million patients a year, making it the largest pan-African network of laboratories in terms of geographic reach and test variety.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Proparco is the private sector financing arm of Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD Group). It has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for over 40 years. Proparco provides funding and support to both businesses and financial institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Its action focuses on the key development sectors: infrastructure, mainly for renewable energies, agribusiness, financial institutions, health and education. Its operations aim to strengthen the contribution of private players to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in 2015. To this end, Proparco finances companies whose activity contributes to creating jobs and decent incomes, providing essential goods and services and combating climate change. For a World in Common. For further information: www.proparco.fr/en and @Proparco
About Cerba Lancet Africa
As the leading force in local medical diagnostics in Africa, Cerba Lancet Africa aims at offering the highest standards of pathology services to patients and medical communities over the continent. Its brand recognition draws on unrivalled medical expertise and a network of more than 100 ISO-accredited laboratories serving more than 1.6 million patients yearly. Its 1,500 employees are committed to sustain the evolution of diagnosis services toward better access and quality for the world’s fastest growing population. Cerba Lancet Africa is majority owned by the French group Cerba HealthCare, a leading international player in medical diagnosis, and co-owned by Lancet Service Company, the foremost diagnostic company in sub-Saharan Africa.
About the IDA Private Sector Window
As part of the record $75 billion IDA18 replenishment, the World Bank Group created the $2.5 billion IDA Private Sector Window to catalyze private sector investment in the poorest and most fragile countries. Recognizing the key role of the private sector in achieving IDA18 objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals, the window provides concessional funds for co-investment alongside IFC and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) private investments. Concessional funds help to mitigate risk and reduce barriers, which unlocks and crowds in private investment in emerging markets. For more information, visit: https://ida.worldbank.org/psw