February 12, 2016

SWF: NSIA, IFC collaborate to boost investment in health sector

By Nkiruka Nnorom & Providence Obuh

THE Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) managers of Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund has entered into collaboration International Finance Corporation (IFC) in order to boost investment in the healthcare sector especially to develop private healthcare.

Speaking at the NSIA, IFC, joint media briefing in Lagos, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Director, NSIA, Mrs. Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli, said that the Federal Government set up a pool of fund worth about $400 million for the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund out of which, $140 million was allotted to the health sector.

She said, considering the scale of what needs to be done in Nigeria, the money is not too much. “We thought of creative way to get that money go a little bit further and now we are working on co-investment opportunity as we find appropriate strategic partners like the IFC,”Onyejeli said.
She added, “we can come together and collaborate on project of scale, where we can put in what we have so that we can attract other private sector investors to come with us and do something significant.

Pool of money

So, these are the type of models we are looking at and of cause, we leverage the capital that we have so that the money goes round and further. It is a little pool of money but we are being conscious of the area to invest that will be of impact and any area we put in money should be areas where there will be social benefit that we anticipate.

Anything we do has commercial return. The SWF, NSIA invest for commercial return and for the benefit of Nigerians.”

She added that in late 2014, the Federal Government signed the National Health Act and approved the establishment of state support insurance schemes by the National Council on Health and as a result, the private sector has the opportunity to play an increasing role in the delivery and financing of health services across the country especially to lower income earners.

Her words, NSIA seeks to catalyse private sector investment in the healthcare space by establishing public-private partnerships and innovative solutions. While the medical sector is among the challenging in terms of establishing investment models, it is also one of the most impactful and is a core NSIA focus.”

Also Speaking, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, Mrs. Eme Essien Lore, added that the IFC is committed to help increase access to affordable quality healthcare services by financing and facilitating financing for integrated networks.

“This will support the development of critical health infrastructure and attract private capital into the sector. We are working with NSIA to boost investments in the healthcare sector and bridge the gap in under supply of quality healthcare in Nigeria,” she said.

Meanwhile, IFC is a multilateral investor in private healthcare, managing an active portfolio of about $1.3 billion in health investment, just as research shows that more than 30,000 Nigerians embark on medical tourism annually and spend more than $1 billion of the country’s limited foreign exchange in the process.