Is Africa always a exporter, or can it be a healthcare destination?


When it comes to health tourism.....let’s forget about “Darkest Africa” (Henry M. Stanley). And let’s stop thinking in terms of “the Four Horsemen of Africa’s Apocalypse”:

  •     Corruption
  •     Disease
  •     War
  •     Poverty

Those who have closely been following events and developments since the 1970’s see and are heralding the new age of the “Brightest Africa”.

Of course, I have a “soft spot for” and an “Africa” connection, so there is a clear element of bias in what I write in this article! But being biased does not necessarily make you wrong, or self interested.

During my travels as an invited and hosted speaker at Health Tourism conferences and events,  I see clear evidence of non-African countries actively pitching and enticing African governments to encourage their citizens to go for treatment outside Africa, and “preferably, come to us”.

I will not go to the trouble of listing these countries;  those in the Health Tourism sector know them and can list them off by heart. Those who know me (and my world outlook) are aware that I am very strongly against protectionist practices ....but often, shopping for healthcare in faraway lands just does not make sense, especially if decisions are not based on quality and cost.

Some of the countries so generously offering their health-related services to Africa are at the same time, vocal champions of development in Africa. But why are they not championing healthcare development in Africa, as well?

And what are the African countries, themselves, doing to further develop their healthcare industries and in the process additionally benefit by the network effect (Networked Countries - development in an adjacent or nearby country will rub off – and benefit yours as well).

At a recent meeting of the “Africa Group”, the African Ambassadors to Greece, I started by saying: “We are aware of, and commend  the spirit of collaboration and reciprocal support which exists amongst African States and the common objective of promoting success in the Continent”.

Africa can point to a number of national, regional and even international healthcare industry successes (for an example see NetCare, a South Africa-based investment holding company which through its subsidiaries, operates the largest private hospital network in South Africa and the United Kingdom). If Africa can export its healthcare industry expertise, does it need to export patients outside Africa as well?

A combined event in Africa in April 2010 will look at the issues facing Africa in Health Tourism:


Amateur to professional

Articles, 01 August, 2018

Medical tourism clusters are not in the right league

“Fragmentistan Syndrome”

Articles, 01 March, 2017

The “Fragmentistan Syndrome” in medical tourism

Industry Representative Bodies

Articles, 31 January, 2017

The raison d'être of Health Tourism Industry Representative Bodies

Health tourism improvements

Articles, 21 September, 2016

Making health tourism “truly” sustainable and resilient – for all

The rise of domestic medical tourism

Articles, 10 December, 2015

Why more and more medical tourism business is becoming “domestic”

Insurance funded treatment abroad

Articles, 15 October, 2015

The future of “Health-Plan-Funded” treatment abroad

A fortune in pyramids

Articles, 12 June, 2015

Is there a fortune at the bottom of the medical tourism pyramid?

Saying NO

Articles, 24 November, 2014

Why some countries are turning their back on medical tourism.

"Buyers" at events

Articles, 07 August, 2014

Hosted "Buyers" fail to live up to expectations

Who leads "Health Tourism Destinations"?

Articles, 22 May, 2014

Are there leaders, or does he who pays, speaks?

The Russian Patient

Articles, 22 April, 2014

Russia is the new focus for medical tourist companies.

Why "Google Health" failed

Articles, 09 January, 2014

Examining the electronic health record "Death Trap"

Greece as a destination

Articles, 29 November, 2013

Times are changing as Greece tries to become a major destination.

Luxury and Medicine

Articles, 07 October, 2013

If medical tourism is all about cost, why so many luxury destinations?

Conventional bankruptcy

Articles, 27 August, 2013

The old models have failed, but what replaces them?

State and Government

Articles, 17 June, 2013

The role of governments in developing health tourism

Haves and wants

Articles, 12 April, 2013

How have to travel is being replaced by wanting to travel

Changing motivations

Articles, 01 February, 2013

Is medical tourism experiencing a shift from 'have to' to 'want to'

Discovering medical tourism

Articles, 22 October, 2012

Despite the recession, there's still growth in medical tourism

Tourism "free zones"

Articles, 01 June, 2012

What are the goals and benefits?

International medical children

Articles, 18 May, 2012

How the EU directive may stimulate an increase in child care

On ice?

Articles, 23 April, 2012

Dr Constantine Constantinides talks on the EU directive on Cross Border Healthcare

Short/long term

Articles, 06 March, 2012

Which should we focus on in medical tourism

Survivor bias

Articles, 23 January, 2012

Past success is no predictor of future eminence

Healthcare standards

Articles, 21 October, 2011

Do standards need to have a regional flavour?

Is it enough?

Articles, 28 September, 2011

Can medical tourism on its own be sustainable?

Understanding the market

Articles, 03 June, 2011

Why would you want to get into the medical tourism market?

Exploring the health tourism market

Articles, 28 January, 2011

Constantine Constantinides provides advice as to understanding the health tourism market

Government incentives for health tourism

Articles, 29 November, 2010

Constantine Constantinides speaks on the role of government in medical travel


Articles, 26 August, 2010

Constantine Constantinides talks on why medical tourism businesses fail

Should accreditation be sold

Articles, 29 July, 2010

Constantine Constantinides talks on how should handle Destination Marketing

Blowing their own trumpet

Articles, 26 February, 2010

Is there any noise from the market, or is it all in the industry?

Cross-border opposition

Articles, 10 December, 2009

Spain and other nations blocked the draft proposal, we ask the experts why

The resentment factor

Articles, 15 October, 2009

Health tourism is often resented by countries, but can it have positive effects?

Free and open debate

Articles, 22 September, 2009

Constantine Constantinides voices concern over the expression of opinions in the industry

Medical tourism in denial

Articles, 30 July, 2009

Supply is exceeding demand in medical tourism, but the industry is in denial



Do you have an article that you’d like to share with the medical travel industry?

Publish for FREE on IMTJ.


Related Articles

Medical travel: Bold predictions for the future

19 December, 2019

Perspectives from the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit 2019

Dental tourism to Costa Rica

20 November, 2019

Cost and quality drive medical travel to Costa Rica

Setting up a medical travel business

23 October, 2019

Lessons from the front line

Medical travel for proton therapy

27 August, 2019

Proton therapy: a double-edged sword?

Assessing EU cross-border healthcare

12 June, 2019

EU cross-border healthcare still requires improvement