Company looking to build private hospitals in Tete, Lusaka and Lagos

African Medical Investments (AMI) currently operates private hospitals in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania, while it is looking to grow its footprint on continent. The company caters for Africa’s burgeoning middle classes, expats working for multinational corporations as well as the diplomatic and NGO community. AMI is listed on the London Stock Exchange. How we made it in Africa’s Kate Douglas asked AMI chief executive Peter Botha about the company’s plans.

AMI's hospital in Maputo, Mozambique.

What are the criteria that must be met before you decide to open a hospital in an African country?

Growing economy, private health market exists, supply chain is present for medicines and consumables, health insurance penetration, presence of other multinationals in mining and/or financial services sectors.

How are your current hospitals doing?

The turnaround is going according to plan. However, there is a legal dispute in Harare that has impacted the business there.

Maputo and Dar are performing in line with expectations. Costs are being reduced and revenues increasing with improved case mix. The performance in Harare has been impacted by legal action.

To which areas are you planning to expand?

At this stage we are still stabilising current operations and initial expansion will be to Tete (Mozambique) and Lusaka. An opportunity has also presented itself in Lagos.

What lessons have been learnt since you started opening hospitals in Africa?

Lack of management skills exist. Immature health insurance markets resulting in non-standardised coding and tariff structures.

What is the competition like?

Local competition exists but primarily for basic care.

Where do you find your medical specialists? Are they usually sourced from within Africa or internationally?

They are generally sourced internationally and employed at each hospital on a fixed salary.

Can you identify the main risks/problems you’ve encountered?

Political (Harare corruption), regulatory (various taxes and licences), work permits for expats and doctors, dollar fluctuation.

What does your presence in an African country offer its citizens?

Affordable quality health provision, more services than public sector, specialist doctors.

Is it a good time to invest in African countries?

Yes in some. Growth markets like Uganda, Nigeria and Mozambique. Related to mineral and resource wealth, growing economies.

Where do you hope to see AMI in 10 years time?

A pan-African hospital network of at least 10 facilities.