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General Electric Co CEO Jeffrey Immelt asks private investors for more investment in African healthcare

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January 28
11:07 AM 2014

Jeffrey Immelt, the Chief Executive Officer of General Electric Co, has asked private investors to give more healthcare funding in nations in Africa where services provided by the government have been stretched to the hilt, Bloomberg reported.

In a briefing in Nairobi, Immelt said that ramping up private investment will help improve the quality of healthcare in Africa. It will also make it more cost-effective and accessible. Immelt was in Kenya to ink a deal with Kenya Commercial Bank Ltd and the US Agency for International Development. The two organizations and GE are supporting a project worth $10 million in the country, the report said.

Immelt said that the project will give financing to small and mid-sized businesses to purchase GE equipment to be used by clinics and diagnostic centers so that health services could be brought "closer to the people." He added that GE also intends to undertake a similar project in other developing countries, the report said.

Nairobi-based financial services firm Open Capital Advisors said that in the first decade of this century, the expenditure for healthcare in Kenya grew at a faster pace compared to the entire economic growth. This was mainly fueled by private sources. Its website revealed that of the total health expenditure, government spending on healthcare comprised only a third. This marked a 45% decline from 2000. In 2012, Open Capital said they expect private spending on healthcare to reach up to $3.1 billion by 2025, the report said.

Last week, the Kenyan government gave its approval to a plan for public hospitals to lease equipment and develop infrastructure to be undertaken through a public-private partnership. In a statement, the cabinet said the project will pave the way for the provision of critical care services in Kenya which fell short of the required number of intensive care unit beds. It only has 64 public intensive care unit beds while what is required is 670 beds, Bloomberg reported.

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