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Africa's pharmaceutical industry booming
05:42 - Source: CNN

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Story highlights

Africa's urban middle class is attracting pharmaceutical firms

Analysts say pharmaceutical spending will rise to $30 billion by 2016

The continent is expected to experience a rise in demand for chronic disease treatments

Lack of infrastructure, varied regulations and counterfeit drugs are challenges

CNN  — 

Major pharmaceutical companies are increasingly looking to harness Africa’s opportunity, lured by an emerging middle class across the continent’s growing urban centers.

Although the total size of the African market is still small compared to other global regions, analysts say that the continent’s big cities hold the key to unlocking the industry’s lucrative potential.

In such areas, increasing individual wealth, coupled with a stronger health system infrastructure and a rising demand for drugs treating chronic diseases, are driving demand for pharmaceuticals, say analysts.

“Urban centers have the highest concentration of the segments of the population that are more likely to be relatively wealthy, more likely to be educated and also possibly more likely to suffer from the chronic diseases of affluence that are becoming increasingly important in Africa,” says Sarah Rickwood, director of Thought Leadership at IMS Health.