Though the country’s small market size is a deterrent to investment, there is great potential for Botswana to start manufacturing pharmaceutical drugs such as antiretrovirals (ARV’s). The Botswana government has in the past proposed plans to manufacture the drugs locally as a way to diversify the economy and meeting the supply and demand within the country.
Though that has not yet been achieved, the country shall remain reliant on importing its pharmaceutical needs for the foreseeable future. The pharmaceutical and healthcares industry has proven to have excellent potential for foreign direct investment. The Botswana Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report by BMI Research features forecasts for drugs and healthcare expenditure and imports and exports, focusing on the growth outlook for the prescription, OTC, patented drugs and generics market segments.
“Expenditure projections of Botswana’s healthcare industry remain with a positive outlook for potential investment,” it reads. “When it comes to spending in the pharmaceuticals sector of the medical industry, the government’s budget rose from approximately BWP1.82billion in 2014 to about BWP1.99billion in 2015 and increase of 9.4percent in local currency terms and 3.7percent in foreign US dollar terms.”
According to the report, in the Healthcare industry the government of Botswana “spent close to BWP6.84billion in 2014 to BWP7.37billion in 2015, which is an increase of 7.9percent in local currency terms.”
Botswana’s Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Index score for the first quarter of 2015 is 40.7, lower than the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regional score of 42.5 placing the country 17th out of 31 countries in the region. In Africa, Botswana is ranked seventh, highlighting the country’s potential as a pharmaceutical market. Although insignificant, the favourable industry and macroeconomics mean that investors are more likely to choose Botswana over other African countries.
Some of the key trends and developments that were mentioned in the report were that in February 2015, the healthcare sector received the second largest share of the 2015 state budget with an allocation of BWP 5.67billion, equating to 15.5percent of the budget. “This equates to an 8.7percent increase from the previous budget, and the provision of health spending is mainly to address the burden of HIV/AIDS, including the elimination of mother-to-child transmission” the report reads. In February 2015, the Ministry of Health announced it has put in place plans to address the shortage of doctors and nurses in the country.
It makes suggestions that, “Botswana makes an attractive pharmaceutical drug manufacturing destination.” It points out that the government’s commitment to healthcare sector development will continue driving import growth of pharmaceuticals to outperform exports. According to the Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele the drug availability in health facilities is currently at 89percent . In the past he has been quoted saying that work is in progress aimed at strengthening the supply chain management.