Exploring the Impact of Healthcare on Economic Growth in Africa

Juste Somé, Selsah Pasali, Martin Kaboine


This paper empirically investigates the relationship between health expenditures, health outcomes and economic growth in Africa using data from 48 African countries over the period 2000-2015 in a panel data regression framework. In line with wider literature on economic growth as well as health economics, the paper first finds that maternal, infant and child mortality rates are all negatively and significantly associated with economic growth in Africa. In addition, life expectancy at birth is positively associated with economic growth. A 9.4-year increase in life expectancy leads to 1 per cent increase in real GDP per capita. Second, the paper finds that health expenditures have direct and indirect effects on economic growth that are positive and economically meaningful. In particular, a 10 per cent increase in health expenditures leads to an increase in annual average real GDP per capita by 0.24 per cent. Third, education emerges as a strong determinant of both economic growth and health outcomes in Africa, particularly when female education is considered. The main policy implication of this paper is that governments should aim at spending more and efficiently on the overall health system to progress over health outcomes and benefit from the positive externalities leading to economic growth. In addition, it is crucial that governments partner with private sector for resource mobilization and effective service delivery.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/aef.v6i3.4110


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Applied Economics and Finance    ISSN 2332-7294 (Print)   ISSN 2332-7308 (Online)

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