Press Release from 2021-11-24 / DEG
DEG finances medical diagnostics in Africa
AfricaConnect loan for medical company “Das Labor.”
In many African countries the medical diagnostics capacity is inadequate. This is where the Potsdam-based company “Das Labor. GmbH” gets involved. In Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire it supplies reliable medical diagnostics and facilitates blood tests or urinalyses, for instance. DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH is now providing the company with a loan of EUR 900,000 under the AfricaConnect programme in order to expand existing laboratories and develop further sites in Togo and Benin. A total of EUR 1.8 million will be invested for this purpose.
Development of new sites in Togo and Benin
As well as private individuals, customers of “Das Labor.” include surgeries, hospitals and occupational health services. Both of the new sites in Togo and Benin will be opened in the next two years. The plan is not only to offer state-of-the-art diagnostics but also to create around 60 skilled jobs at these sites.
Production of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in Côte d'Ivoire
In 2019 “Das Labor.” initially acquired shares in an existing diagnostic laboratory in Guinea. At the end of 2020 another laboratory site was opened in Côte d'Ivoire, followed by a rapid test production site in 2021, which is now producing between 5,000 and 10,000 COVID-19 rapid antigen tests a day. The site in Abidjan is one of the first production facilities for rapid tests anywhere in Africa. Half of the tests are being sold locally, thereby improving protection for the local population. The other half are being issued to public health authorities at cost price within the framework of a development partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
“We are delighted to make a contribution to better medical care in Africa in collaboration with ‘Das Labor.’. At DEG we place great value on businesses with a long-term view that want to create positive added value locally by creating skilled jobs”, commented Klaus Helsper, head of the German Business department at DEG.
Tom Halgasch, founder and managing director of “Das Labor.”, added: “We are very excited about the successful cooperation with DEG. We hope that many more German companies will follow and venture onto our neighbouring continent under the AfricaConnect programme, especially when it comes to productions in Africa for use on the African market.”
The AfricaConnect programme funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) enables DEG to offer European businesses an innovative, flexible financing product for investments in Africa. The co-financed companies also benefit from DEG’s considerable Africa expertise and from its network. Since the programme launch in 2019, DEG has managed to provide 27 AfricaConnect loans for commercial ventures in ten African countries. The volume of funding totals around EUR 70 million.
During the coronavirus pandemic DEG has been specifically committed to supporting entrepreneurial initiatives to improve health care. For instance, DEG recently arranged a loan-based financing of EUR 144 million for the South African vaccine maker Aspen.