Goodlife Pharmacy, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in East Africa, has received a Sh300 million funding ($3million) from the IFC.
Only a year on from a Sh2.2billion ($22 million) investment by LeapFrog Investments – the dedicated investor in financial services and healthcare for emerging consumers – Goodlife Pharmacy has emerged as East Africa’s largest pharmacy brand, reaching over one million people.
The company plans to further grow its footprint to over 100 locations across the region over the next five years.
“A fundamental transformation is taking place in East African healthcare and is being driven by rising consumer incomes, disease burdens shifting from acute to chronic, and an undersupply of relevant health infrastructure,” Dr. Felix Olale, Partner and Global Co-Lead for Health Investments at LeapFrog, commented. “Goodlife has been a leader in responding to this transformation by bringing access to quality medicines and chronic health services closer to the customer.”
In a signal of the ongoing strength and performance of the business, the World Bank’s IFC today committed its second investment into Goodlife with $3 million (Sh300 million).
A 2015 IFC loan of $4.5 million helped accelerate the company’s early-stage growth and saw it expand significantly from a small enterprise with four stores.According to the IFC, consumer spending on health in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to double over the next ten years.
Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Sub Saharan Africa, said “IFC’s investments in Goodlife support 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.”
One year on from LeapFrog’s $22 million investment, Goodlife has more than doubled its pharmacy locations, reaching more than 1 million East Africans with trusted products and services. The company is set to expand to 100 stores over the next five years. Most new stores will aim to serve customers earning less than $10 a day, living in underserved and lower-income areas. These areas are typically served by informal, and at times unregulated, drug stores.
The company’s strong brand, customer-centric growth, and reputation for securing investment from top health investors are enabling Goodlife to attract key talent to the organization. The most significant of these is the recent appointment of Amaan Khalfan as Goodlife CEO. He joins Goodlife from Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), one of the leading healthcare facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, where he was part of the senior leadership team.
Khalfan commented: “Goodlife has an ambitious vision for the future of East African healthcare, centered on ensuring that millions of consumers have access to high quality, innovative healthcare that is tailored to their needs and lifestyles. This model, supported by the backing and insight of world-leading investors like LeapFrog and the IFC, is delivering substantial growth and transforming the health of East Africa in the process.”
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.