The Korea-Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) hosted the Kenya-Korea Biomedical Symposium on Friday designed to showcase the most recent Korean advancements, breakthroughs, and innovations in the field of medicine.
The symposium featured special Korean biomedical firms with a strong demand for collaborating with the Kenyan community. Among them, GeneAll Biotechnology, Narma Inc., and Microbiology E.A. Ltd. (a Kenyan company) shared their impressions about their positive experience with Korean products and technology. GeneAll Biotechnology and Narma Inc. are clients of KOTRA.
Mr. Matundra Gesora, Team Leader at the Nairobi Trade Centre of Korea-Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), mentioned that Africa’s health systems suffer from serious inefficiencies, with countries across the continent struggling with disruptions in medical equipment and drug supply chains, last-mile health-services delivery, medical data analysis and storage, and financing. “The future of healthcare in Africa depends on innovation. The adoption of new technology can create opportunities to improve health literacy and access to care for all Africans. The pandemic was a catalyst for growth in health tech on the continent. Now entrepreneurs and the government must sustain the momentum,” he said.
Narma Inc. is the first spin-off company of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and aims to develop world-standard delivery drones and service platforms. Through its innovative product, the Narma AF200, an agile tilt motor drone platform for cargo delivery, the drone is used for last-mile emergency deliveries in Tharaka Nithi and Makueni Counties by Kenya Flying Labs, a local drone operator in Kenya.
With over 20 years of experience in nucleic acid extraction reagents, GeneAll Biotechnology provides specialized products and services for advanced molecular diagnostic solutions providers. The firm has developed nucleic acid extraction products based on GeneAll technologies, with their sample collection kits and reagents being used across the globe. The firm produces nearly 100 products for wide-ranging samples, with a competitive advantage in low cost and fast processing capabilities.
The availability of these products makes it possible for patients to be treated in county and sub-county hospitals rather than moving to the city seeking treatment for these diseases.
Latest data from the UN Economic Commission for Africa indicates that Africa imports about $4 billion worth of medical devices, a growth of $1 billion in the last five years, representing about 1.9 percent of global imports, with South Africa (18%), Egypt (12%), Morocco (8%), Kenya (2.5%) importing the highest devices in Africa.
The report ranks Kenya as the fourth largest medical technology device exporter in Africa at 3.1 percent of exports from Africa to the rest of the world ahead of Tunisia and Mauritius.
According to the data, Africa exports medical devices worth $600 million every year representing 0.3 percent of global import. The sector has grown by $189 million over the last five years.
The global medical devices market hit $595.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to rise to $844.7 billion by 2028. Telemedicine and e-health was worth $87.8 billion as of 2022 and is projected to reach $285.7 billion in 2027.
Wearable health devices were at $116 billion in 2022 and will rise to $265.4 billion in 2027. Artificial intelligence was worth $14.6 billion as of 2022 and is projected to reach $102 billion by 2028. 3D printing in health was worth $17.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to rise to $34.5 billion by 2028. Nanodevices and machines were at $1.3 billion in 2022 and may reach $2.7 billion by 2028.
“Collaborations amongst various stakeholders, including governments, regulators, academia, and industry, have the potential to develop solutions to address the diverse healthcare challenges faced on the African continent,” Korea-Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Team Leader Mr. Matundura Gesora concluded.