In 1997, Emmanuel Katongole identified a gap in the medicine supply market in his country as the government started to hands off the pharmaceuticals industry to focus more on healthcare delivery.
In the absence of the government’s involvement, the Ugandan market was becoming dominated by imported medicines from India and China. Emmanuel made a very decisive move by setting up a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Uganda.
His brainchild, Quality Chemicals Limited, is now a flourishing business that produces affordable life-saving drugs for treating HIV and Malaria. The company is also the first African producer of anti-retroviral and antimalarial drugs to be certified by the World Health Organisation.
How the dream began…
The business, which started with a $30,000 capital as an importer of generic medicines from Asia, met with financial and technological difficulties when it decided to build its manufacturing plant in Uganda. However, with financial support from the Ugandan government and Cipla, the Indian pharmaceutical giant, the plan was put into action.
The plant which started operations in 2008 currently employs more than 300 Ugandans and is worth more than $100 million. Emmanuel is keen on expanding the business to become a regional drug manufacturing giant supplying neighbouring markets in South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi.
Emmanuel Katongole’s advice to young entrepreneurs is:
stick to their dreams and not be distracted by too many alternatives. ‘Know your dream from A to Z and be able to articulate it very well… the sky can be the limit.’
Africa’s pharmaceuticals market is in rapid growth…
As Africa’s economy continues to expand, governments across the continent will free up more industries and markets to the private sector.
Did you know that globally, over 60 percent of HIV/AIDS and 80 percent of malaria cases are in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet the continent only manufactures just about 1 percent of the required medicines?
The dependence on foreign pharmaceutical imports comes with several challenges, among them high costs of drugs, stock-outs in health facilities, and risk of counterfeit drugs.
This is why any entrepreneurs who, like Emmanuel Katongole, can start up viable businesses in pharmaceutical manufacturing will surely reap huge benefits.
If you want to learn more about the amazing business opportunities in Africa’s pharmaceuticals market, check out this highly detailed and revealing article: Drugs and Medicines – How to tap into the million dollar market that fights diseases in Africa
To your success!