Investing for the Few

The IFC’s Health in Africa initiative

Publication date: 9 September 2014
Author: Anna Marriott, Health Policy Adviser (Oxfam); Jessica Hamer, Liaison Officer (Civil Society Delegations to UNITAID Board)

The Health in Africa initiative of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is at odds with the World Bank Group’s welcome commitment to universal and equitable health coverage and to shared prosperity. This paper argues that the $1 billion initiative, which promotes private sector healthcare delivery, is extremely unlikely to deliver better health outcomes for poor people.

The IFC’s failure to measure the extent to which Health in Africa impacts on people living in poverty is inexcusable. 

Instead of investing in risky private sector solutions, the World Bank Group should focus on supporting African governments to expand publicly provided healthcare – a proven way to save millions of lives worldwide and to drive down inequality, abolish user fees and help governments to strengthen their capacities to regulate the private sector.