Sinhue Noronha, Founder and CEO, Africure
The pharmaceutical sector is blooming subsequently more than ever before. However, Africa has about 11 percent of the world’s population and holds 24 percent of the global disease burden in human and financial costs. Almost half the world’s deaths of children under five occur in Africa. While this is a major challenge, it is also not insurmountable. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the private sector in ways that improve access and increase the financing and quality of health care goods and services throughout Africa. One such pharmaceutical company that is committed to improving African health by creating a series of Manufacturing Assets and developing Technical Capabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa is Africure Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Meet Mr. Sinhue Noronha, Founder and CEO of Africure. The visionary entrepreneur has spent 30 years in pharmaceuticals in African Markets focusing on marketing & manufacturing.
Perfect Blend of Skills and Experience
Mr. Noronha started his career at the age of 20 in the pharmaceutical industry as a medical representative and rapidly moved through roles of product executive, product manager, Sr. product manager, marketing manager, and marketing controller. At the age of 30, he ventured into the business of manufacturing and exporting pharmaceutical formulations to buyers in Europe and Africa. Eventually, Mr. Noronha moved into a leadership role in the pharmaceutical industry and built various businesses in Africa to a critical size. He says, “Here we are now, with Africure Pharmaceuticals, created with a vision to take manufacturing technology into Africa with a differentiated business model of creating manufacturing capabilities in key African markets.”
A Glimpse into the Organization
With a dynamic vision to provide quality and affordable healthcare to the people of Africa, Africure is established in 2017 with revenue of $13.5Mn. The company has had a growth rate of 52% over the past 3 years and is expected to achieve close to the $50 Mn marks in the next two years. “We strongly believe that local manufacturing is the future of pharmaceuticals in the region. Hence, we primarily focus on setting up manufacturing facilities in Africa by upholding our motto ‘Made in Africa by Africans for Africa’,” affirms Mr. Noronha. Africure’s portfolio comprises over 100 molecules and 300 product registrations and has also created local manufacturing facilities in Cameroon, Botswana Cote d’Ivoire, and Tanzania. The company employs approximately 90% of local manpower and has taken up this challenge of local manufacturing despite being in rough terrains.
Africure’s client base majorly comprises large distributors, hospitals & government procurement agencies. “We have always observed that we are very dear to our clients & strive to provide them with the best possible value in terms of quality, pricing, DIFOT& technical support. Our ultimate consumers have pride in consuming medication manufactured in their own country, which is on par with any high-priced brand comparables,” says Mr. Noronha.
The company has the vision to empower and help Africa embark upon a journey towards building self-sufficiency in pharmaceuticals across key geographies. The company endeavours to manufacture high-quality essential medication in Africa by Africans for Africa. According to Mr. Noronha, Businesses in Africa have their own set of challenges & limitations, spanning from talented manpower, education, raw material availability, engineering support, logistics, bureaucracy, to forex restrictions & domination by large pharma companies. He adds, “However, all the countries have been at this point at some point in time & hence see them as a great opportunity. Anything easy becomes a breeding ground for businesses. I’d rather prefer to create strong & sustainable enterprises in difficult conditions.”
Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Mr. Noronha says that leadership is all about having a clear vision & getting yourself and your team to believe in it. It needs a lot of persistence & multifaceted knowledge in various domains. It is also important to look at the bigger picture whilst not losing your attention to finer detail. His advice to young entrepreneurs is, “Start small, with a larger vision in mind, build the business brick by brick, being on top of things, being aware of what’s happening in the company & in the market, taking constant corrective action leading to constant re-strategizing. Create something unique and scarce, solve a persistent problem. If you are not flexible & top of technology, someone will replace you sooner rather later.”
Evolving and Overcoming Challenges
The ardent entrepreneur believes that the opportunities to grow are unlimited and every country in Sub Saharan Africa has the capability to house a manufacturing facility, on the road to self–sufficiency. While the COVID situation has awakened the governments and has reemphasized the need to start building their own manufacturing capabilities, Africure assures to support them by all means.
Africure has started the construction of a manufacturing plant in Ethiopia which will be operational in 2022 and is in the process of expanding into Angola, Congo Brazza, and Uganda. “We continue to look at putting up a new plant every two years and managing plants that are struggling and to turn them into success stories. It will be no surprise if Africure has a basket of 10 plants in the next five years. This would also ensure we meet our commitment to the society at large, by providing technology, employment, healthcare affordability & better standard of living for the people of Africa,” concludes, Mr. Noronha.