Ploumen: use public aid more often to leverage private funds

Loans totalling €60 million will be available for some 3,000 doctors and clinics in Africa to improve healthcare services, thanks to a Dutch government guarantee for only €2 million. Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, will increasingly use her shrinking aid budget in ways like this to leverage private donations and investments in developing countries. Ms Ploumen made this announcement after a working visit to PharmAccess Group in Amsterdam.

‘Because the Dutch government will stand surety for €2 million, the fund was able to attract €25 million from international investors, including Deutsche Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Using this capital, the fund can issue up to €60 million in loans to projects aimed at improving health care in Africa,’ Ms Ploumen explained. ‘In this way, a fairly small amount of public funding can achieve a much greater impact on the lives of people in need.’

Along similar lines, PharmAccess – through the Health Insurance Fund – has provided access to healthcare insurance for 110,000 people in Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania who would otherwise have been unable to afford it. In parallel, Dutch companies like Achmea, Aegon, Heineken, Shell, SNS and Unilever, working with other companies and development banks, are investing in major healthcare providers in Africa.