It is Saturday afternoon and I find myself in the heart of Lomé, the capital of Togo, at Akodessewa Fetish Market. It is considered the largest fetish market in the world and, for some, it is the Walmart of voodoo in the region. The market has an assortment of animal parts, bone statues and herbs. But I am not in West Africa to pick up a new hobby. My trip has brought me to Togo and West Africa to get a better understanding of both the traditional medicine and pharmaceutical industries.
A large percentage of sub-Saharan Africans make use of traditional medicines. But African markets hold enormous potential for pharmaceutical companies. According to IMS Health, pharmaceutical spending in Africa is expected to grow by 11% a year to reach US$30 billion in 2016. Af rica remains the only continent where non-communicable diseases – such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases – aren’t the biggest cause of death. While infectious diseases such as malaria will remain a burden f or most countries, the World Health Organisation predicts that by 2020 a large increase in non-communicable diseases will occur in Africa. Read Article