DrugStoc Team (Image: Supplied)
Healthtech startup, DrugStoc has raised USD 4.4 million in Series A funding to expand access to quality medicines. While providing sustainable supply chain financing for healthcare providers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The funding round is led by Africa HealthCare Master Fund (AAIC). And other investors include Chicago-based venture firm Vested World and the German Development Bank (DEG).
Launched in 2017, DrugStoc is a cloud-based platform that provides healthcare providers with the interface for easy access to pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. It ensures that patients get quality medicines at affordable prices. It boasts superior quality control systems with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification on Good Distribution Practice.
Nobuhiko Ichimiya, Director at AAIC stated that, “We are very excited to be part of the Drugstoc journey. The pharmaceutical market in Africa has enormous growth potential and we are glad to back a company well-positioned to be a key player in the sector’s growth in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Chibuzor Opara, DrugStoc’s co-founder and CEO; asserted that “We are committed to making an impact in the healthcare industry. This funding will enable us to expand and launch our tech-enabled products in more African countries where pharmaceuticals are critically needed.
Having grown over the last three years with an almost 1500% increase in monthly sales since January 2018. 14 million people currently have access to genuine healthcare products through hospitals and pharmacies covered by DrugStoc. With this funding round, the company will grow coverage to about 100 million people. It plans to achieve this by expanding its supply chain infrastructure both digitally and physically. Digital expansion will see DrugStoc build out its tech solutions to boost access and accommodate more partners as it extends coverage beyond Lagos. DrugStoc will also build on its partnerships with financial institutions such as Sterling Bank, to increase access to sustainable supply chain financing.
The company is founded by two seasoned professionals in the health sector, Chibuzo Opara and Adham Yehia, And has powered over nine million prescriptions and projects 12 million by the end of 2021. Chibuzo Opara said: “Fragile and resource-challenged healthcare systems require a radically transformative set of market-based strategies to expand access to healthcare. The DrugStoc way re-engineers the value chain digitally, improving and expanding access to healthcare at the same time.”
It is predicted that Africa’s pharmaceutical industry will be worth $56 billion to $70 billion by 2030, from just $5.5 billion in 2007. However, the broken supply chain and chaotic distribution channels on the continent still pose a significant challenge. It affects the delivery of quality medicines, affordability of pharmaceuticals and efficient healthcare delivery for health workers. Innovation to solve supply chain challenges is a key opportunity in this growing market.
Based on estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa imports about 94% of its pharmaceutical and medicinal needs from outside the continent. Drugstoc is ensuring that more vital drugs, vaccines and health technologies are supplied safely, effectively and affordably to more people.
According to Liam O’Connor, who is also among a group of individual Silicon Valley investors, “DrugStoc has demonstrated impressive growth and the ability to improve healthcare providers’ access to pharmaceuticals in Nigeria. I am excited to support DrugStoc’s innovative work building a reliable, resilient, and high-quality pharmaceutical supply chain across Africa. I am confident that DrugStoc will succeed in making a critical healthcare difference that will help save lives.”
In 2016, DrugStoc was incubated under Stanford’s Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies. And in 2019 made the shortlist as one of ten finalists for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, Jack Ma’s flagship entrepreneur program in Africa. It also won the award for the Technology Enabled Distributor of the year, at the Nigeria Health Excellence Award in 2019 and 2021.
The healthtech startup will now double down on its vision to change the way healthcare providers interface with the pharmaceutical market and revolutionize sub-Saharan Africa’s access to quality pharmaceuticals.
CardinalStone Partners Limited acted as Financial Advisers to DrugStoc.
Insurpass Partners AXA Mansard To Provide Easy Access To Health Insurance Coverage For More Nigerians
Insurpass, an insurance technology company has partnered with AXA Mansard, a leading player in the insurance and asset management sector to provide access to affordable insurance coverage for emerging customers in Nigeria.
The partnership will leverage Insurpass’ Open Insurance API to provide easy access to AXA’s health insurance products such as Malaria-care, Malaria-care plus, Easy Care, and so on. AXA’s Malaria-care provides quality malaria test and treatment to customers at various accredited partner pharmacies nationwide. Malaria-care plus provides cashback on customers’ hospital expenses when placed on admission for 2 or more nights and pays life insurance benefit to the customer’s beneficiary in an event of a customer’s death. Easy Care provides comprehensive health coverage and gives customers access to over 1000 hospitals nationwide.
Insurpass, in its drive, to deepen insurance penetration, increase financial inclusion and break the barrier to accessing insurance coverage in Nigeria. Through its plug-and-play API infrastructure and embedded insurance model will enable other service providers ranging from Banks, Health-techs, Edu-techs, and various point-of-sale agents to enroll customers for this health insurance scheme. The company also promises coverage to the base-of-the-pyramid consumers who live in rural areas. And do not have access to smartphones or internet service, as it will enable them to access healthcare insurance. Through thousands of point-of-sales agents who already carry out mini-financial activities around their neighborhoods.
Speaking about the partnership with AXA Mansard, Gloria Agboifoh, Head of Partnership and Business Development at Insurpass stated that, “Insurpass at its core is committed to breaking the barrier to inclusive insurance in Nigeria and bringing innovative and affordable insurance closer to the very people that needs it the most and this partnership goes a long way in bringing the company closer to its goal of democratizing access to insurance coverage starting with health insurance”.
In the same vein, Mr. Alfred Egbai, Head, Emerging Customers and Digital Partnerships Group at AXA Mansard, stated that “our aim is to create innovative products that cater for the needs of our customers. We will therefore continue to strive to ensure that these products are easily accessible, this is why we have partnered with Insurpass to achieve this objective”.
Insurpass, provides an API-driven insurance infrastructure-as-a-service solution that enables companies across various sectors to embed insurance products and back-end insurance components into any web, mobile app, or USSD channel through its Open Insurance API.
AXA Mansard is registered as a composite company with the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM). The Company offers life and non-life insurance products and services to individuals and institutions across Nigeria whilst also offering asset/investment management services and health insurance solutions through its two subsidiaries – AXA Mansard Investments Limited and AXA Mansard Health Limited respectively. The parent company was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in November 2009.
Customers can also access affordable insurance products on their devices when they log on to BimaCred an online platform powered by Insurpass.
Wärtsilä reaches 7GW installed power capacity milestone in Africa
Wärtsilä’s Energy system integration night (Image: Wärtsilä)
With over 600 power plants commissioned in 46 African countries, Wärtsilä confirms its position as a leading provider of power generation solutions in the continent
The technology group Wärtsilä first began its Africa operations in Tanzania back in 1975. Since then, the group has delivered more than 600 installations, supplied power plants in 46 countries, generating 25% of the national electricity supply in over 25 countries. Total installed capacity now exceeds 7.4 GW of which one-third is covered by operation and maintenance contracts. Today, Wärtsilä is the undisputed leader in the medium-speed power engine market in Africa.
This strong track record, built up over decades, has its roots in a dedicated local presence combined with the capability to bring together international expertise to build groundbreaking energy solutions.
Wärtsilä’s Industry Firsts in Africa
With more than 650 employees and service hubs located in Kenya, South Africa, and Senegal. Wärtsilä is proud to have contributed to many industry firsts. These include Africa’s largest gas engine power plant on the Kribi coast of Cameroon with 216MW capacity, as well as Africa’s highest installation, the 175 MW power plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, sitting at 1,700 meters above sea level.
Another first, the KivuWatt power plant in Rwanda, is the first ever power plant to use the naturally occurring methane from lake Kivu to generate electricity and reduce the environmental risks associated with such high concentrations of gas. Today’s power output is 25 MW but future planned expansions to this project will increase capacity by an additional 75 MW.
Wärtsilä’s reciprocating gas engine technology and innovative energy management systems play an important role in response to Africa’s growing demand for flexible and reliable electricity. Small to medium size projects can be used to establish microgrids in remote regions. Their flexibility means that they can work hand in hand with renewable energy resources. Output can be ramped up at the same rate as wind or solar output fluctuates. One example is the 15 MWp hybrid engine-solar PV power plant for the Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso: The combination of low-cost renewables with flexible engine solutions enables energy intensive industries to enter an era of more cost efficient and climate friendly operations.
Africa’s Future, Beyond Energy
No single project is the same. As a leading international EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company, Wärtsilä has a history of providing unique power solutions to meet the specific challenges of its clients. As well as to extend educational and economic benefits to local communities when delivering on projects such as Tasiast in Mauritania and Ndola in Zambia
“For Wärtsilä, EPC also means Experience, Proven and Compliant. These projects have helped several nations accelerate their development and increase their standard of living, not to forget the many jobs created across the continent. At the heart of each project is local engagement, training and transmission.”, said Fabien Cadaut, Marketing & Communications Manager, Africa, Wärtsilä Energy.
This is why Wärtsilä has proudly joined forces with Ambitious.Africa, an initiative working to connect the youth of African and Nordic countries. To foster upcoming talent and co-create a more equal and sustainable future. Through this association, Wärtsilä can actively connect students, entrepreneurs, start-ups, financiers, and other stakeholders from across two continents. And provide them with the knowledge, skills and training they need to bring about real and lasting change.
As another example, Wärtsilä provides local institutions in Senegal with hands-on training and support for talented students often struggling to find their place in working life. This is part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. Another recent contribution was made in support of solar energy unit installations in informal settlements in the Western Cape. The households in these settlements are either connected to an illegal and unsafe electricity source or have no access to basic electricity.
As recent contracts such as the 120 MW power plant project in Gabon. The 90 MW gas conversion project in Senegal, and renewed O&M contracts in Nigeria demonstrate, Wärtsilä is committed to accelerate broad-based electrification across Africa.
Honeywell Group and Flour Mills of Nigeria Sign Agreement to Combine Flour Mills of Nigeria with Honeywell Flour Mills
Honeywell Group Limited (“HGL”) and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (“FMN”) today announced that they have signed an agreement for the proposed combination of FMN through its affiliates and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. (“HFMP”), a portfolio company of HGL. At a total enterprise value of NGN80 billion, HGL will dispose of a 71.69% stake in HFMP to FMN. The proposed transaction will combine two businesses with shared goals and create a more resilient national champion in the Nigerian foods industry, ensuring long-term job creation and preservation. A combination of FMN and HFMP will bring together two trusted and iconic brands, creating a food business that is better positioned to benefit the growing Nigerian population and leverage opportunities stemming from the African Continental Free Trade Area (“AfCFTA”).
The key highlights of the proposed transaction are as follows:
- HGL will dispose of a 71.69% stake in HFMP to FMN based on an enterprise value of NGN80 billion. The final equity price per share payable will be determined based on HFMP’s adjusted net debt and net working capital at the date of completion.
- The proposed combination is subject to approval from the appropriate regulators.
- The complementary transaction combines FMN’s market-leading offerings that include grain-based foods, sugar, starches, oils, spreads and breakfast cereals with HFMP’s market leading diverse and differentiated range of carbohydrate products.
- Stakeholders would benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population.
- The scale of the transaction provides employees of the consolidated company with more career development opportunities in a larger organisation, with the potential to create more jobs in the economy as it will have more brands and categories, and a larger and more geographically diverse footprint.
- Customers across the nation will benefit from access to a wider product range and a robust pan-Nigerian distribution network, accessing greater number of points of sale supported by enhanced customer-focused sales teams and redistribution capabilities.
- The combination will also serve as a catalyst for an even stronger stream of innovation that is focused on local content offerings.
- The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.
- Nigeria presents vast opportunities, particularly in light of the country being the largest market on the continent as well as a signatory of AfCFTA.
- HFMP’s listing will be retained for the foreseeable future. Minority shareholders of HFMP will be treated fairly and in line with capital market regulation. Further information will be provided within the required channels and timeframes.
Commenting on the transaction, Honeywell Group Limited Managing Director, Obafemi Otudeko said: “Today’s announcement is in line with the evolution of Honeywell Group and our vision of creating value that transcends generations. For over two decades, we have supported Honeywell Flour Mills to build a strong business with a production capacity of 835,000 metric tonnes of food per annum. Following the transaction, Honeywell Group will be strongly positioned to consolidate and expand its investment activities, including as a partner of choice for investors in key growth sectors.”
Omoboyede Olusanya, Group Managing Director of Flour Mills of Nigeria, said: “The proposed transaction is aligned with our vision not only to be an industry leader but a national champion for Nigeria. We believe that this will create an opportunity to combine the unique talents of two robust businesses. As a result, we will have a better-rounded and more comprehensive skill set available to us as a combined diversified food business, thus enabling us to better serve our consumers, customers and other stakeholders, whilst providing employees with access to broader opportunities.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.