Rwanda and China are forging a new partnership that will allow Rwanda save at least $ 1 million in healthcare expenses and China, to take over East African market.
Investors from 20 companies included in Shanghai Medical Instruments Trade Association (SMITA) have attended two day first African International Medical and Healthcare Forum since March 3.
They are meeting Rwandan healthcare policymakers, experts, and practitioners to forge partnership and explore business opportunities.
In a statement that explains the status of Rwanda’s health sector achievements, challenges and way forward, Chinese investors learnt that Rwanda spent $1million in costs incurred in sending patients abroad for specialized treatment in 2016 alone.
Rwanda’s State Minister of Health Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi told participants that Rwanda has made almost 100 percent access to primary health care but very little has been done in tertiary health care resulting into the increase in demand for specialized health care and expenses in medical tourism.
“We have hospitals and health centers in all districts but still lack professional care with increased threats of Non-communicable disease among others. We need modern equipment, training of local specialists and most importantly we are interested in developing the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products,” Ndimubanzi said while officially opening the forum.
Wu Chang Li, SMITA vice chairman said that Chinese medical investors are open minded and looking into areas of investing in training and capacity building, equipment supply, and retail.
The investors, he said, are willing to go by country priorty.
“We are here to reaffirm the commitment and we are 90 percent ready to move on with the plan. What we want to do first is to bring in the private sector from which Rwanda may want to draw some references,” Li said.
“The other is make use of Chinese experience of the state of health care standards which are now full acceptable globally thus exchange opportunity.”
RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi, said that Rwandan choice to partner with China is strategic because China has made it in health sector. Rwanda on another hand has made health care a core agenda for achieving good governance.
“Our people and their health come first for us in Rwanda. There is now way we can talk about good governance without prioritizing health care,” she said.
Adressing Chinese investors, she said “You will be facilitated and given incentives to start business as soon as you decide to come.”
To Akamanzi, Chinese investors took a good decision by choosing to eye Rwanda as a potential market opportunity because Rwanda is central to accessing all African markets in East African community, close to 200m people.