February 17, 2018

IFC Invests $3m to help Kenyan pharmacy create regional retail chain in East Africa

Dolapo Omidire

Late last month the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announced an investment of $3 million in Goodlife Pharmacy Limited, a Kenyan pharmaceutical retail chain. The investment was made to help the company expand to more than 100 stores within four years to create a Pan-East African retail pharmacy chain. Goodlife currently supplies affordable, quality healthcare products in Kenya and Uganda, where there are few nationwide chains, and an estimated 35 to 40 percent of medications sold are counterfeit.

According to the IFC, the East African retail pharmacy sector is highly fragmented, with more than 12,000 independent retailers and medicine sellers in Kenya alone. Ineffective regulation, sub-standard or counterfeit drugs, and a lack of information available to the buyer leave room in the market for affordable, reliable pharmaceuticals like the Goodlife model.

Formerly known as Mimosa Pharmacy Limited, Goodlife Pharmacy operates over 30 stores located in multiple shopping malls and high streets in key Kenyan cities.

The financing marks IFC’s second investment in Goodlife.  A 2015 IFC loan of $4.5 million, made in conjunction with a third-party equity investment, accelerated the company’s growth. It grew from a small enterprise with four stores, to become the region’s largest pharmaceutical retail chain. Goodlife has since created more than 200 jobs and will ultimately reach nearly four million consumers.

Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Sub Saharan Africa, said:

“IFC’s investments in Goodlife supports a trusted pharmacy brand that is committed to delivering high-quality service and products. Goodlife’s expansion is an important step towards consolidating Kenya’s retail pharmaceutical industry, and ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality, reliable products.”

In November 2016, Goodlife Pharmacy was acquired by LeapFrog Investments. LeapFrog has empahasized expansion, setting a new national standard for customer convenience and quality, and introducing customer-centric technology and software systems new to the East African pharmaceutical market. As Goodlife expands, most new stores will aim to serve customers earning less than $10 a day in underserved and lower-income areas. These areas are typically served by informal, and at times unregulated, drug stores.

“IFC’s investment in Goodlife will help strengthen our leadership position in the Kenyan retail pharmaceutical market, allow us to create more skilled job opportunities, and bring quality drugs and medicines to multiple countries in East Africa,” said Amaan Khalfan, CEO of Goodlife.

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