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HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, China

China to see decline in medical devices exports to Sub-Saharan Africa

A global rise in trade protectionism is pushing firms to diversify their supply chains.

Although Sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) medical device industry remains heavily reliant on imports mainly coming from China, supply chains are slowly moving away from China due to the global rise in trade protectionism, according to a report from Fitch Solutions.

The region’s local production is focused mainly on basic consumables such as bandages, dressings, syringes, needles, and catheters, so domestic manufacturers dominate the low-tech equipment and supplies end of the market whilst more advanced equipment is mostly imported.

China remains the top supplier of medical devices for SSA, and is particularly strong in the supply of consumables, patient aids and other medical devices. The EU—led by Germany, France and the Netherlands—and the US are other important suppliers.

However, a global rise in trade protectionism has been feeding firms' interest in diversifying their supply chains, and the pandemic will also trigger an acceleration of this trend, the report noted.

“That said, we believe that SSA will see only limited benefit from this, given a number of structural obstacles in the region,” Fitch added.

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