The medical equipment market in Africa is continuously dominated by the United States in all categories, but particularly in orthopedics, prosthetic, patient aids, other devices and consumables.

Nevertheless, buyers are increasingly looking towards sourcing from Asian markets for cheaper and competitive prices. Germany is second to the United States, followed by China, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Japan. China is making significant inroads, increasing by around 10% in terms of market share.

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The growth of most markets will likely be influenced by national legislation related to the government’s NHI program, as well as the Competition Commission’s investigation into private healthcare costs.Competition from local production will be muted and mostly limited to consumables (bandages, dressings, etc.) and furniture.

However, the local development of Lodox Systems, a full-body X-ray machine, as well as the Aceso system by CapeRay, a screening device integrating two modalities -– full field mammography and automated breast ultrasound, indicates that local producers can successfully compete with international suppliers of sophisticated equipment if they have access to the appropriate funding channels

Therefore, the most imported medical equipment into Africa can be divided into the following.

Diagnostics Equipment:  

Consistent with healthcare infrastructure upgrades, the demand for diagnostic imaging equipment is forecast to grow approximately 12% between 2016 and 2021.

Dental equipment:

This happens to be the smallest product area (3.6% of all medical imports), it grew at a CAGR of 10.2% in the last year. Access to good dental health remains a problem for the majority of the population.

Patient Aids

Patient monitoring devices, powered mobility aids and other patient aids have experienced higher growth. This very market  is dominated by India and China. This market sector is forecast to grow at 15.7% from 2016–2021.

Conclusion:

The underdeveloped market offers potential for growth, but is considerably restrained by funding issues, poor infrastructure, and staff shortages (particularly in the public sector. Opportunities will exist for exporters of medical equipment (particularly new and innovative equipment), as extensive upgrades and development of hospital infrastructure is being considered. The private healthcare sector is very sophisticated and boasts world class facilities with several centers of excellence. However, approximately 93% of equipment is imported. Refurbished equipment is not favored by the medical community, particularly in the private sector, and that market opportunities here will be very limited.