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SOUTHBRIDGE A&I is proud to announce that it has received a grant from the BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION to design & operationalize a pan-African Working Capital Fund aiming at supporting the development of a consolidated healthcare distribution ecosystem in Africa. The project was officially kicked off on July 28th.

In March 2021, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, SOUTHBRIDGE A&I co-published with SALIENT ADVISORY a report titled “Accelerating Improvements in Health Products Distribution” which links the challenges of accessibility, pricing & fragmentation that faces the healthcare industry to poor financial inclusion of SMEs with important Working Capital constrains.

The cost of debt was, at the time, extremely high with lending interest rates ranging for instance from 12% in Kenya to 23% in Ghana, thus making financing Working Capital and investments too costly for many SMEs, not to mention that systemic collateral requirements created an additional barrier for cashless SMEs, alongside inadequate financing mechanisms. This « missing-middle » situation induces a poor market structure that does not favor price decrease nor innovative practices, at the expense of the final customer.

The purpose of this grant will be to design a Working Capital Fund with the support of high-level experts gathered within a Learning Committee with the aim of structuring & operationalizing the Fund by the beginning of 2024. SOUTHBRIDGE A&I is very proud of its collaboration with the Foundation in such a paramount sector in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Together with the healthcare start-up acceleration program – Investing in Innovations, i3– launched in June 2022, the Working Capital Fund will contribute to making healthcare more accessible & affordable throughout the continent.