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ONE applauds African leadership on health

In a significant week for global health ahead of the African Union (AU) Summit, African leaders and global partners today gathered in Addis Ababa to launch a new initiative to transform health investments on the continent.  

Hosted by Rwandan President and AU chair Paul Kagame, today’s ‘Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health’ attracted the support of leading global health advocates, including UN Secretary General António Guterres, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and Bill Gates. Commitments from African leaders included:

  • African governments will increase the percentage of GDP that they invest in health
  • Africa will create regional health financing ‘hubs’ to harmonise efforts, identify gaps and inefficiencies, and strengthen health systems and impact
  • The African Union will develop and run a domestic health financing ‘tracker’ to monitor progress on domestic financing and its efficacy
  • AU ministers of finance and health will convene regularly to increase collaboration and drive progress in the health sector

Gayle Smith, CEO of the ONE Campaign, says: “Take notice world: African leaders don’t just follow best practice – they create it. We’re witnessing an African health revolution unfolding on the continent that challenges stereotypes and demands we step up the fight to ensure that all citizens have access to essential health services.”

Smith noted that these African commitments come at a critical time. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is up for a replenishment this year, and while the world has made amazing progress in fighting these diseases, much more needs to be done. 1000 young women and girls, worldwide, are still being infected by HIV every day. ONE welcomes initial commitments to the Fund. This includes Ireland’s announcement at the Leadership Meeting for a 50 per cent increase to its previous Global Fund commitment. By announcing a €9 million pledge yesterday, Luxembourg was the first donor country to announce a pledge.

Applauding African leaders, ONE’s Africa Executive Director Rudo Kwaramba-Kayombo adds: “Africa’s population is predicted to double by 2050, and a narrow and closing window of opportunity still exists to harness a ‘demographic dividend’ – if we make the right investments in education, health and economic opportunity and invest in our biggest asset – our youth – we can seize that dividend.”


Note to Editors

  • ONE’s CEO Gayle Smith and ONE’s Africa Executive Director Rudo Kwaramba-Kayombo are available for interviews (please find media contacts below).
  • At the invitation of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African business leaders will meet on 12 February at the African Business Health Forum to coordinate efforts to improve the health of their employees and their respective families and communities.
  • For its next replenishment conference in Lyon, France, on 10 October, the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria is seeking $14 billion to continue its life-saving work for the next three years. ONE is launching a global campaign to secure this sum over the next 8 month.
  • Mobilising domestic resources is crucial to close the health financing gap
    • On average African countries spent 10.2% of their government budget on healthcare, less than the 15% benchmark set by the Abuja Declaration. In most countries these sums were not programed through open trackable budget systems
    • Health financing in Africa is projected to average less than 2% of GDP in 2018, which translates to median spending per capita of just $16 per person in that year
    • Financing needs for healthcare are projected to be $79 per capita in 2018. Even if budget allocation reached 15%, and countries increased the size of their domestic budget by reaching their full revenue potential, there is still a financing gap for African healthcare
  • The poorest need healthcare the most:
    • The World Bank shows that high out-of-pocket healthcare costs mean that each year nearly 100 million people globally are pushed into extreme poverty.
  • Health is a smart investment with big returns:
    • Every dollar invested in immunization leads to a return of $60.
    • Every dollar invested in health spending for the world’s poorest leads to a return of $13.
  • Providing health is an effective way to fight poverty:
    • The Ebola crisis in West Africa is a good example:
      The 2014 Ebola epidemic provides a staggering illustration of the economic consequences of just one outbreak of disease: It resulted in GDP losses of $2.2 billion in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2015 alone, threatening macroeconomic stability and private sector growth in the region.
    • One extra year of life expectancy has been shown to raise GDP per capita by about 4%

For media enquiries please contact

Scherwin Saedi (in Berlin): +49 30 319 891 578, +49 1520 3771 429, [email protected]

or Tumba Tshimanga (in Addis Ababa): +27 636 981 093; [email protected]