The Western Cape has spent more than US$400-million on healthcare capital infrastructure in the last 10 years. The province boasts some of the best health outcomes of South Africa’s nine provinces.
Healthcare in the Western Cape is of high quality and accessible to the majority of the population. Medical facilities have world-class infrastructure and systems and, in addition to public healthcare, the province houses competitive private medical schemes, and life, household and business insurance companies.
Cape Town is also home to many medical device and healthcare companies, research institutes and research groups.
The province has a strong pipeline of skills through four top-performing and highly respected universities: the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of the Western Cape.
Billions of rands are being invested in the province to facilitate research at these leading institutions, to position them as world-class research hubs.
The University of Cape Town’s Department of Medicine houses 18 divisions and 10 specialised research units, with worldwide collaborative teams.
Stellenbosch University is currently establishing a billion-rand state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Institute at its Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. It aims to investigate diseases with the greatest impact in South Africa and Africa, and to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of illnesses such as tuberculosis, HIV, diabetes and heart disease, among others.
The pharmaceutical market in Africa is expected to reach US$45-billion in sales in 2020 as a result of urbanisation, increased healthcare spending, an increase in the incidence of chronic and lifestyle diseases, and higher economic growth. Cape Town is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the resultant opportunities.
The Mother City is home to one of three global International Centres for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, where innovative research in life sciences is carried out and infectious diseases (such as HIV/Aids and malaria) and non-communicable diseases (such as cancer) are investigated.
The public-private partnership Biovac Institute in Cape Town aims to be a centre of excellence for the development and manufacture of quality vaccines for Africa's and the developing world’s needs.
Between January 2008 and December 2017, 20 foreign direct investment projects were recorded in South Africa’s medical devices and pharmaceuticals sector, representing capital investment of more than US$600-million.
Cape Town benefited from the highest number of total jobs and largest project size, with 204 jobs per project on average. The Western Cape has spent more than US$400-million on healthcare capital infrastructure in the last 10 years.
The Western Cape’s world-famous Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site has more than 9 000 endemic plant species, including botanicals such as rooibos, honey bush and buchu that are already widely used in teas and health products in South Africa and abroad.
There is great scope for botanical-extract processes for new and specialised products to be developed, as well as for further research.
Stellenbosch University’s Innovus facility has established many health products and 20 spin-off companies, with a combined turnover of R300-million in 2018 and 300 employees.
Wesgro supports trade and investment in medicinal cannabis in accordance with its mandate to support economic growth and job creation in the local economy. To learn more about opportunities around investing in cannabis, please download our factsheet:
The Western Cape health technology sector currently contributes an estimated R1.7-billion to the Western Cape economy, creating about 2 500 full-time jobs.
Every year, R20-billion is spent on research and development at South African universities, of which R3-billion is spent in the Western Cape, which boasts four world-class universities, two academic hospitals, the South African Medical Research Council, and the state-of-the-art Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research. The largest portion of that spend is on health technology research and development.
The Cape Health Technology Park is a partnership between the Department of Science and Technology, the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and Wesgro. The initiative entails the proposed establishment of a health innovation-focused technology park to house firms, government and academic health-innovation programmes, and support organisations.
Top companies and organisations in the health-tech sector based in the province include the Biovac Institute, H3D, Roche Kapa Biosystems, Cipla, CapeRay, Aspen Pharmaceuticals, Avacare, TASK Applied Science, and Afriplex. Foreign companies operating in the country include Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Johnson & Johnson.
Cape Health Technology ParkThe Cape Health Technology Park is a partnership between the Department of Science and Technology, the Western Cape government, the City of Cape Town and Wesgro. The initiative entails the establishment of a health innovation-focused technology park to house firms, government and academic health-innovation programmes, and support organisations.Visit
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