African countries are keen to have Indian pharmaceutical companies invest in their expanding health care systems and many are seeking joint ventures in various areas ranging from establishment of hospitals and clinics to setting up units manufacturing drugs and medical equipment.

“Essential and life saving drugs including medical equipment and articles are in utter shortage in the entire African continents and especially in Gambia. The Indian pharmaceuticals and health industry could reach out and help fill this gap,” said Omar Sey, Minister of Health, Republic of Gambia at the India-Africa business forum meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Sey was speaking at a session on “Delivering Affordable Healthcare Solutions for Africa”. The meet is jointly organised by the CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and PHD Chamber.

The Minister said that Gambia would provide a safe and stable industrial environment and atmosphere for Indian industry and its investments given the fact that the relations between India and Gambia have grown over the years and matured significantly.

Namibia is an ideal destination for Indian pharmaceutical industry to invest as it does not have any pharmaceutical plant yet, pointed out Tarah Shaanika, CEO, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We are turning into a hub for supplying goods to the rest of Africa. If Indians invest in our country, they could not only sell in Namibia but also access the rest of the continent,” she said.

Indian generics account for 20 per cent of drugs consumed in Africa.