Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Multi-Million Dollar African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) currently under construction in Abuja is to end the current massive capital flight owing to medical trips outside of the shores of the nation.
The federal government and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have signed the Host Country Agreement, according to the regional development finance institution, in a statement, yesterday.
Located on a large expanse of land in the rapidly-developing Apo-Kabusa area of the FCT, the African Medical Centre of Excellence would be a 500-bed secondary and tertiary healthcare institution, with an estimated cost of $750 million.
The agreement was signed on 30 September 2022 between Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank and Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The bank said that the signing of the Host Country Agreement builds up on the ground-breaking for the AMCE project, presided over by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.in December 2021,
President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, was quoted as saying, “The AMCE Abuja is a first of its kind quaternary level medical facility in the West African region and one amongst the very few, if any, on the African continent.
“The AMCE will promote Intra-African Trade medical tourism by offering a full spectrum of services in oncology, haematology, cardiology, and general healthcare across the continent, in addition to training, research and development capabilities. The AMCE Abuja will serve as the headquarters for other AMCEs to be launched across Africa.
“The initial capital outlay for the first phase of the AMCE Abuja is projected at US$300 million. The investment is expected to rise to about US$750 million, upon full development, making the facility by a significant distance the single largest private healthcare investment in Nigeria and Africa in general.
“The success of the AMCE Abuja will pave the way for attracting future investments and partnership arrangements within the health sector on the continent. It will also raise the local standards of healthcare delivery as well as provide a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and related challenges.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs,Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, who signed the deal on behalf commended Afreximbank for the decision to build the AMCE in Nigeria.
His words, “I know how difficult it is for a country to get host status for a project or institution that everyone is looking for. Today, with all the health challenges facing the world, every country is looking to host an international health institution. I thank Afreximbank for bringing this institution to Nigeria as a host.
“The research and development aspect of the project is very important. It is not just a turnkey hospital that is being set up in Nigeria, the African Medical Centre of Excellence will be a research institution, which is vitally important because that is the only way to have sustainable and comprehensive medical facilities and treatment.
“The AMCE really ticks all the boxes, because when we do not invest in research and development, we end up with situations where neglected tropical diseases we have on the continent do not have proper treatments, because industrialized countries that invest in research and development prioritize the diseases that affect their citizens the most, as do pharmaceutical companies.”