• Green Rising
  • Posts
  • 🚁 Heli view: The missing link in Africa’s green economy

🚁 Heli view: The missing link in Africa’s green economy

At least 15,700 Africans died last year in extreme weather disasters and a further 34 million were directly affected. That is only the beginning. 

  • Droughts, floods and storms will unleash disease and exacerbate medical gaps.

  • Climate change is expected to cost African healthcare an extra $2 trillion by 2050. 

  • Of the 60 countries identified by the World Bank as most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change, 38 are in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Missing bridge: The biggest hurdle to tackling the health crisis stemming from climate change is a disconnect between the medical sector and the green economy. 

  • Both are growing fast, solving problems, but neither sees the other as a partner.

  • There are exceptions, but they only prove the point that much is missing. 

The numbers: Investment in climate-tech in the first half of 2023 was $530 million while medtech raised $390 million. Yet the overlap was minimal. 

  • Out of 313 African projects that received climate funding between 2009 and 2019, only two targeted the health sector. 

  • Even though sub-Saharan Africa will shoulder 80% of the global healthcare adaptation costs, very few medical startups directly address climate impact. 

Medical myopia: Innovation is driving the African health sector - from telemedicine to new supply chains and software solutions. But are the innovators interested in climate change? 

  • HealthTracka in Nigeria decentralises healthcare with at-home lab tests, virtual consultations and medication delivery. But no mention of climate-relevance. 

  • Tibu in Kenya connects patients digitally to primary care, wellness and disease management. No indication of this relating to climate change.

  • Bypa-ss in Egypt digitises patients’ medical records, including prescriptions and test results. Apparently, zero climate link. 

The exceptions: A few new healthcare companies do get the link to climate.

  • Zuri Health, a telehealth startup, incorporates climate-conscious initiatives.

  • 8Medical in Nigeria markets emergency services for climate-related heatstroke.

  • Medikea, another telehealth startup, received funding from Catalyst Fund on the basis that healthcare will face increased demand due to climate change.

Climate startups: Myopia is not limited to the health sector. Many climate innovators and investors focus more on carbon than humans, though there are exceptions. 

  • The Global Grand Challenges network in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation will spend $12 million to support innovators at the intersection of climate and health. 

  • A company such as Map&Rank, which collects weather data to forecast climate risks, could easily be plugged into healthcare planning.

Thriving merger: The clean cooking industry is an example of a sector that has successfully incorporated both health and climate benefits as key indicators of its impact.

  • Stove makers trumpet reductions in indoor air pollution that would otherwise lead to respiratory diseases as well as reductions in global emissions. 

  • The Clean Cooking Alliance, an industry association, speaks of combating “environmental health risks”. 

Growing awareness: Insiders are taking note. Emilian Popa, founder of Ilara Health, which serves primary carers, says, “Climate is very wide and health is a bit more specific, so investment from climate into health is more likely than the reverse.”

Get the full story...

This content is free, but you must be subscribed to continue reading. Cancel anytime.

Already a subscriber?Sign In.Not now