The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Federal Government have signed the Host Country Agreement for the first African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) currently under construction in Abuja, Nigeria.
The agreement was signed between Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank and Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Health Joseph Nkama; Afreximbank Executive Vice President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services Dr. George Elombi,; and Afreximbank Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank and Mrs. Kanayo Awani; as well as other members of the management team of the Bank and the AMCE.
The signing of the Host Country Agreement builds up on the recent ground-breaking for the AMCE project, in December 2021, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Oramah who is the President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, said the AMCE Abuja is a first of its kind quaternary level medical facility in the West Africa region and one amongst the very few on the African continent.
He said, “The AMCE will promote Intra African Trade 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.
“The AMCE Abuja will serve as the headquarters for other AMCEs to be launched across Africa.
“The initial capital outlay for the first phase of the AMCE Abuja is projected at $300m. The investment is expected to rise to about $750m, upon full development, making the facility by a significant distance the single largest private healthcare investment in Nigeria and Africa in general.”
He said the success of the AMCE Abuja will pave the way for attracting future investments and partnership arrangements within the health sector on the continent.
He added, “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.”
Also, Onyeama said, “I know how difficult it is for a country to get 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 host an international health institution. I thank Afreximbank for bringing this institution to Nigeria as a host.
“The research and development aspect of the project is very important. It is not just a turnkey hospital that is being set up in Nigeria, 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 really 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, because industrialized countries that invest in research and development prioritize the diseases that affect their citizens the most, as do pharmaceutical companies.”