IFC invests $3 million in Goodlife Pharmacies to assist in creating a regional chain in East Africa
01-02-2018 13:09:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 2881 | Tags:

The International Finance Corporation has announced an investment of $3 million in Goodlife Pharmacy Limited, to help the company expand to more than 100 stores within four years to create a Pan-East African retail pharmacy chain.

Goodlife supplies affordable, quality healthcare products in Kenya and Uganda, where there are few nationwide chains, and an estimated 35 to 40 percent of medications sold are counterfeit. 

The financing marks IFC’s second investment in Goodlife.  A 2015 IFC loan of $4.5 million, made in conjunction with a third-party equity investment, accelerated the company’s growth. It grew from a small enterprise with four stores, to become the region’s largest pharmaceutical retail chain. Goodlife has since created more than 200 jobs and will ultimately reach nearly four million consumers.

Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Sub Saharan Africa, said “IFC’s investments in Goodlife supports a trusted pharmacy brand that is committed to delivering high-quality service and products. Goodlife’s expansion is an important step towards consolidating Kenya’s retail pharmaceutical industry, and ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality, reliable products.”

In November 2016, Goodlife Pharmacy was acquired by LeapFrog Investments. LeapFrog has empahasized expansion, setting a new national standard for customer convenience and quality, and introducing customer-centric technology and software systems new to the East African pharmaceutical market.

As Goodlife expands, most new stores will aim to serve customers earning less than $10 a day in underserved and lower-income areas. These areas are typically served by informal, and at times unregulated, drug stores.

“IFC’s investment in Goodlife will help strengthen our leadership position in the Kenyan retail pharmaceutical market, allow us to create more skilled job opportunities, and bring quality drugs and medicines to multiple countries in East Africa,” said Amaan Khalfan, CEO of Goodlife.

The East African retail pharmacy sector is highly fragmented, with more than 12,000 independent retailers and medicine sellers in Kenya alone. Ineffective regulation, sub-standard or counterfeit drugs, and a lack of information available to the buyer leave room in the market for affordable, reliable pharmaceuticals like the Goodlife model. 

Dr. Felix Olale, Partner and Global Head of Healthcare for LeapFrog Investments, said, “IFC’s second investment into Goodlife underscores the company’s reputation and leadership in improving health and wellness in the region.

The additional financing puts Goodlife in a prime position to continue its rapid growth across East Africa and on course to become the largest Pan-East African pharmacy chain over the next several years.”

IFC is the world’s largest multilateral investor in the private health and education sectors in emerging markets..

Investments of $25-30 billion will be needed to meet the demand, with the private sector playing a key role. IFC is working with local businesses, financial intermediaries, policymakers, donors and other stakeholders to help Africa meet these challenges.