By Okeoghene Akubuike, Abuja.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Federal Government of Nigeria have signed the Host Country Agreement for the first African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE).
This is contained in a statement issued by Amadou Sall, Afreximbank’s Media Contact, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Sall said that the centre was currently under construction in Abuja, Nigeria.
He said that the agreement was signed on Sept. 30, between Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, and Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
He also said that the dignitaries who witnessed the signing included the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Health, Joseph Nkama.
Others are Afreximbank’s Executive Vice-President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services, Dr George Elombi, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice-President, and Intra-African Trade Bank, Mrs Kanayo Awani, among others.
Sall said that the signing of the agreement was sequel to the ground-breaking ceremony for the AMCE project in December 2021, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Oramah was quoted as saying that “the AMCE Abuja is first of its kind quaternary level medical facility in the West Africa region and one among the very few, if any, on the African continent.”
He said the AMCE would promote intra-African 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.
Oramah said that the AMCE Abuja would serve as the headquarters for other AMCEs to be constructed across Africa.
“The initial capital outlay for the first phase of the AMCE Abuja is projected at 300 million dollars.
“The investment is expected to rise to about 750 million dollars upon full development, making the facility, by a significant distance, the single largest private healthcare investment in Nigeria and Africa in general.”
Oramah said that the success of the AMCE Abuja would 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.”
Onyeama was quoted as saying: “I know how difficult it is for a country to get the 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 hosting an international health institution.
“I thank Afreximbank for bringing this institution to Nigeria as a host.”
The minister said that the research and development aspect of the project was very important.
According to him, 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 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.
“This is because industrialised countries that invest in research and development prioritise the diseases that affect their citizens the most, as do pharmaceutical companies,” Onyeama said.