South Africa's National Health Insurance Scheme creates opportunities for Italian companies in the Life Sciences sector
Il sistema di assistenza sanitaria nazionale in Sudafrica crea opportunità per le aziende italiane nel settore delle Scienze della Vita
13 February 2020 - 10.00 am (GMT+1)
13 febbraio 2020 ore 10.00 (GMT+1)
(The language of this Webinar is English without translation
Il Webinar sarà in inglese senza traduzione)
South Africa published its draft National Health Insurance (NHI) bill that was presented to Parliament by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on 8 August, 2019.

The bill, creating an NHI Fund, paves the way for a comprehensive overhaul of South Africa's health system that would be one of the biggest policy changes since 1994. It is estimated that universal healthcare for millions of poorer citizens would cost about R256-billion, to implement by 2022.

Although South Africa is Africa’s most industrialised economy, the existing health system reflects broader racial and social inequalities that continue to persist more than two decades after the end of Apartheid. Less than 20 percent of South Africa’s population of 58 million can afford private healthcare.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, has called for public submissions on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which contains the first concrete proposals for realising the Government’s plans for achieving universal health coverage.

The Bill proposes extensive reforms to the way healthcare is financed and provided, with a central NHI fund that will purchase services on behalf of the entire population. The NHI is due to be implemented in phases before full operation by 2026 if the Bill is passed.

South Africa’s pharmaceutical and medical device sectors are the largest and most advanced in sub-Saharan Africa. Pharmaceutical and medical device sales have both more than doubled in the last 10 years and are expected to reach R48bn and R19bn respectively in 2019.

The country has advanced manufacturing capabilities, including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology manufacturing facilities. In addition, South Africa has strong R&D capabilities in the medical industry. Research by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine has found that while Africa has less than 500 internationally accredited laboratories, 90% of these are based in South Africa. This strengthens South Africa’s position as the most suitable African country for investment into Life Sciences knowledge generation and production.

South Africa is also the only Southern African Development Community (SADC) member country that meets the World Health Organization’s Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Such an achievement positions South Africa as a gateway to the Southern African market for manufacturers of pharmaceutical products.

It is forecasted that pharmaceutical sales in South Africa will increase by about 40% in the next five years, partly driven by the increase in lifestyle-related diseases including hypertension, obesity and diabetes. The demand for generic drugs has risen rapidly in recent years as more doctors and consumers opt for affordable, yet effective alternatives to expensive brand name medication.

According to data published by Assolombarda, the Life Sciences sector in Italy shows a value of production of Euro 207 billion, an added value of 95.5 billion and over 1.7 million employees. The total added value – including related industries – amounts to 10.0% of the national GDP. Lombardy is the most highly developed Italian region in terms of value of production (with more than Euro 23.5 billion added value) and number of employees. The region’s Life Sciences sector accounts for 31%, 25% and 20% of the national numbers with regard to value of production, added value and employment respectively.

Lombardy’s Life Sciences Cluster is a community devoted to Life Sciences, bringing together public and private players in the diagnostics, advanced therapies, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare technologies areas to foster progress in this sector in Lombardy, and to create new business opportunities for its members.

The Webinar will provide an overview of the NHI bill and highlight opportunities for Italian companies in the biomedical, pharmaceuticals and medical devices sector.

  • Provide an overview of South Africa’s Life Sciences sector, challenges and opportunities.
  • Describe the offerings of the Italian healthcare and Life Sciences industry.
  • Inform on opportunities for joint projects and initiatives.
Recipients/ attendees:
  • Italian and South African public and private sector stakeholders in the Life Sciences sector.
  • Representatives of Italian and South African trade and investment promotion institutions.
  • Representatives of Italian and South African clusters and consortia in the sector.
  • Programme Director: Ms Marcella Uttaro, Marketing Officer, Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa in Italy
  • Welcome Remarks: Ms. Titi Nxumalo, Consul-General of South Africa in Milan
  • Presentation by the speakers:
    • Vaughn Harrison, Lawtons Africa
    • Avanthi Bester, Chairperson and Tanya Vogt, Executive Officer, South African Medical Device Industry Association (SAMED)
    • Mayuri Naidoo, Legal Advisor, Pfeizer South Africa
    • Gabriele Pelissero, President, Lombardy Life Sciences Cluster
    • Agostino Migone De Amicis, Pavia e Ansaldo
  • Q&A
Attendance is free of charge / La partecipazione è gratuita


For any enquiry regarding this email, please refer to the South African Consulate-General in Milan, clicking here.
Per qualsaisi richiesta riguardante la presente comunicazione, La preghiamo di rivolgersi direttamente al Consolato Generale Sud Africa a Milano, cliccando qui.