Although sub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population in the world, the proportion of older adults is increasing. By 2050, it is estimated that the percentage of the population over 60 will have increased from 4.8% in 2017 to 7.6%.
This increase in life expectancy means that many older adults could one day require daily care over an extended period, but due to trends in migration where children are moving far away from their parents, new solutions are required.
“Many parents in Ghana are alone in their old age,” says businesswoman Leticia Osafo-Addo. “And there are very few formal care facilities for the aged.”
Osafo-Addo, who trained as an anaesthetist and critical care therapist in Germany before returning to Ghana, is the founder and MD of the food processing company Samba Foods, listed on the alternative board of Ghana’s stock exchange.
“I think this is an opportunity. When I came back originally, I saw there were no formal care facilities or even plans on how to care for the elderly. Children and offspring who have left the country want – and would pay for – regulated care services for their parents,” she says.
Currently, most of the healthcare services in Ghana are provided by the government. The US Department of Commerce lists private healthcare opportunities in Ghana as a “best prospect industry sector” for the country as the government has started looking for more private-sector participation in healthcare.
Policy reforms have tried to address the concern of caring for the elderly. More than a decade ago, Ghana’s policymakers put a three-tier pension system in place to assist with income security for the country’s aged. The National Health Insurance Scheme also exempts older adults from premium payments for healthcare.
Osafo-Addo believes this is not enough and that private care facilities for the elderly remain a viable business opportunity. “You would need the necessary approvals from the departments of health and social welfare but I think it would work well,” she adds.