Michal Gur-Aryeh, Director of Economic Affairs for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explains the role his country wishes to play in French-speaking Africa.
Jeune Afrique: Why did you choose to make the French-speaking world, and Africa in particular, the focus of your conference this year?
Michal Gur-Ayeh: Our primary objective is to fill Israel’s lack of exposure in this region. Although there are companies active in French-speaking African countries, many of them miss out on business opportunities, particularly due to the language barrier. We are also working to increase the use of the French language, because without it, it is more difficult to convince Africans to buy our medical products and solutions.
We believe we are able to offer French-speaking Africa affordable and effective medical solutions, in particular thanks to a policy of reducing production costs at the base, which will have a virtuous impact on the price of our products.
Your program is largely about the pandemic and “best practices” in health and care. What is the expertise of the Israeli private and public sectors in these areas?
We have a fully digitized healthcare system. Whether you go to the hospital or to your family doctor, the healthcare professionals will have all the medical reports drawn up.
This system allowed us to control the situation during the pandemic, locate clusters and speed up decision-making. From the first hours of the arrival of Covid-19 in our country, the authorities quickly received any new information on this virus. As with the Omicron variant, for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was able to exchange its information with South African health authorities. We have also sent medical equipment to Senegal and Ghana, and doctors to Botswana. And we have shared our expertise with Madagascar and Rwanda…
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TytoCare, for example, has created a portable kit that accurately diagnoses vital signs (heart, lungs, eyes, ears, etc.). The results are then sent to a doctor, digitally. This product would prove to be particularly useful in French-speaking Africa, particularly in remote villages. Especially since it is offered at an affordable cost and represents a significant time saving. Dotz Nano offers this same type of system, but this time focused on tracing and authentication diagnostics – for Covid-19 and other viruses. In a similar vein, Virusight Diagnostic has developed a similar solution based on spectral technology and artificial intelligence (AI), which provides results in 20 seconds.
Cassit has created a splint, used in Uganda, that adapts to the patient’s hand
Mention should also be made of MadeCu, which has developed special bandages and is the only supplier in the world of dressings impregnated with copper oxide microparticles, in order to treat acute and chronic wounds. Neo Laser has developed a portable laser device to treat endovascular and proctological problems. The Cassit company, meanwhile, has created a splint that adapts to the patient’s hand in five minutes. Inexpensive and aesthetic, it is currently used in Uganda and English-speaking countries.
How do you intend to stand out from the competition in the Middle East, Egypt… also at the forefront in the sector and very present on the pan-African market?
Medical technology “Made in Israel” is known throughout the world, in particular thanks to 3D printing which has enabled the manufacture of scanners or the design of a human heart, by this technology. In addition to providing medical solutions, the Israeli government is committed to providing appropriate training, as well as ensuring long-term follow-up.
Our commitment in Africa is not new: in October 2020, five Ivorian children suffering from a congenital heart defect were treated free of charge in Israel. I can’t comment on the medical offers from other countries, but there is an Israeli know-how that is no longer to be proven.
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Who are the main players in Israeli health tech?
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