A sustainable, resilient oxygen infrastructure for COVID and beyond
We are building Africa’s largest network of oxygen entrepreneurs to address the supply gap in medical oxygen generation and distribution across the continent.
The oxygen shortage in Sub-Saharan Africa
Even before COVID, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) suffered an immense shortage of medical oxygen for treating conditions like pneumonia, postpartum hemorrhage and infant respiratory distress. The region’s annual supply averaged 4 million cubic meters, a stark shortfall compared to an estimated need of 40+ million cubic meters per year. COVID has unsurprisingly widened this gap, with demand exceeding 50 million cubic meters per year as the pandemic persists.
The opportunity of franchising oxygen supply
ITT is building a multi-country franchise business in SSA, The Oxygen Hub, increase medical oxygen supply to underserved peri-urban areas and small/mid-sized towns. Oxygen Hub works with local entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa to power the production and distribution of affordable medical oxygen by building a distributed Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) infrastructure.
The franchisor supports entrepreneurs with financing, equipment leasing and management support. As the entrepreneurs demonstrate consistent success, they will take over ownership of the assets. With initial focus on underserved peri-urban areas and small/mid-sized towns, distribution will gradually expand into rural areas via a hub-and-spoke model.
This effort will tackle short-term COVID demand while building a resilient, locally-owned-and-managed infrastructure to deal with ongoing medical needs. We’ve started in Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia and plan to expand across the continent. Over the next 3 years, our business model will drive a 3-5x increase in SSA’s oxygen supply and lay the foundation for future growth.
Evaluating local entrepreneurs
Quality of management and team
Strong CEO with proven track record of impact-oriented business
Strong ties with relevant local and federal government stakeholders
Reputable in industry/market among peers/customers
Strong team beyond CEO (or proven ability to develop talent)
Experience operating in healthcare and logistics
Experience in oxygen delivery or related health/logistics business
Deep understanding of local market and healthcare systems
Experience with public procurement processes
Ability to quickly mobilize resources
Currently have space (or can quickly obtain space) to expand production
Have fulfilled or can quickly fulfill necessary regulatory requirements
We’ll be driven by the following imperatives:
- Close partnership with other ecosystem actors
- Build on existing capacity, focusing on identifying the best entrepreneurial talent and strengthening local businesses
- Strong focus on business rigor, with limited reliance on grants beyond what is essential
- Commitment to social impact and improved health outcomes
- Bias towards proven existing technologies rather than technological “bells-and-whistles”
- Flexible financing and operating models that responds to nuances in each market
Our Team and Partners
CEO, The Oxygen Hub
Strategy & Business Development Lead
Finance & Operations Lead
Supply Chain Lead, The Oxygen Hub
East Africa Regional Manager
Nigeria Country Manager
Finance & Operations Director
President, The Oxygen Hub
CEO, Global Health Labs
CEO, Interkel Group
Founder and Executive Chairman, Econet Global
Partner, Dalberg Advisors