The economic wellbeing of a nation is emphatically dependent on the health and wellbeing of its nationals. Health, therefore, is a supplement to the socio-economic development indicators of a nation. Across the globe the health sector occupies a larger share of government concern and responsibilities. To achieve the overall goal of guaranteeing sufficient levels of health and wellness in a nation, a constructive health ecosystem is essential.
Accordingly, many countries have identified Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as the goal for their health systems, and Primary Healthcare is at the core of the strategy to achieving this. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as the desired performance of a successful healthcare system, whereby all people are provided with access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation) of sufficient quality to be effective without causing financial hardship. Healthcare infrastructure, supply and demand, is thus an important component of a well-functioning healthcare system.
While the public sector has traditionally provided healthcare infrastructure financing and investments in Africa, its role in filling the gaps has in recent years become increasingly constrained as Governments at all levels in the continent increasingly face budget constraints and deficits amidst global economic slowdown.
However, the question on how to raise the necessary funds, how to maintain financial risk protection and how to ensure efficient use to support strategies for revitalizing healthcare in Africa remains unclear for many African countries. What is however clear is that for health financing interventions to be scalable, sustainable and resilient for future generations, infrastructure has to be upgraded targeting both the supply – and demand-side of healthcare system, must be cost recovering, value driven and services delivered in partnership with the private sector and catalytic investments.
Over the past two decades, Islamic finance has emerged as one of the important sources of finance for a wide variety of infrastructure projects, through both public sector and PPP schemes. Amidst the dearth of conventional infrastructure financing, Islamic finance, with its asset backed structures and risk-sharing features, partnership-based and equity-focused approaches, offers the prospect of widening the sources of financing and investment needed to meet the massive Healthcare infrastructure investments in African countries, including but not limited to Muslim-majority countries.
As an organization committed to fostering the Islamic paradigm of economic development in Africa, the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation (AFRIEF), in collaboration with Glocal Healthcare Services Private Limited, is organizing a two-day Virtual Summit on April 5th – 6th, 2021 on a topic of growing relevance in recent years: Islamic Finance: an Alternative Source of Funding Healthcare Infrastructure in Africa, in conjunction with the formal inauguration of the Africa Primary Healthcare Infrastructure Development Program (APHIDEP).
The theme of the event, which is being held under the Distinguished Patronage of His Excellency, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (GCFR), former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria is: “Towards Universal Healthcare and Sustainable Development Goals”. The overarching goal of the Summit is to explore a realistic alternative approach to financing primary healthcare infrastructure in Africa. The event, therefore, provides a platform for key stakeholders, policymakers, business leaders, academics, scientist researchers, students, healthcare practitioners and other leaders of society from within Africa and beyond to critically and objectively examine the purposes, theory, practice, structure, and institutions of the rapidly developing field of Islamic finance and how it can support the development of healthcare in Africa.
The highpoint of the Summit will be the formal inauguration of the Africa Primary Healthcare Infrastructure Development Program (APHIDEP), a primary healthcare initiative of the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation. The Initiative is designed to complement the efforts of African Governments, within the context, capacity and priority of each country, to create a continental movement, with the 1978 Declaration of Astana as a starting point, for the strengthening of sustainable primary healthcare systems as the basis for Universal Health Coverage (UTC), community stability, economic development, national security and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
No doubt, given its emphasis on risk-sharing, linkages to real economic activities, partnership-based and equity-focused approaches, widened geographic reach and the rapid expansion of its global assets in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, Islamic finance possesses the unique potential to serve as a potent tool for mobilizing as yet untapped sources of liquidity to support strategies for revitalizing primary healthcare in Africa.
TOPICS TO BE DISCUSSED
It is difficult to invite papers on a precise list of topics in a virtual Summit of this nature; it would be equally difficult to organise a program of systematic discussions without some written papers and presentations. Submissions are however, invited from a number of perspectives. The list below is an indication of the areas which topics of papers or presentations, empirical or theoretical can cover.
- An Overview of Africa’s Primary Healthcare Sector
- Digitizing Primary Healthcare: Opportunities for Africa
- Reimagining Health Economics in Africa: The Islamic Perspectives
- The Global Islamic Finance Market.
- The Infrastructure Challenge to Achieving UHC and SDGs (Ijarah, Murabahah, Istisna’, Musharakah, Mudarabah, Sukuk, Takaful)
- Islamic Social Finance (Zakat, Waqf, Qard Hassan and Sadaqa)
- Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Primary Healthcare
- Islamic Financing of Primary Healthcare Infrastructure in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges
- Case Studies