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AFRICAN JOURNAL OF HEALTH ECONOMICS - Volume 9 Issue 2, December 2020

Pages: 18-31

Date of Publication: 01-Dec-2020

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Health Outcomes and Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author: Eric Arthur, Hassan E. Oaikhenan

Category: Review & Research


Background: Significant efforts have been made in improving economic growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa. Economic growth, however, seems to be behind the desired rates, and also not inclusive. It is important to recognize the importance of health capital in achieving and sustaining the desired rates of growth in the region. This paper examines the relationship between health outcomes and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: The paper employs the panel data technique in achieving the objectives. Panel data technique was used because this study is a cross-country examination of the effects of health outcomes on economic growth over time. In this approach, we use the Generalized Method of Moments estimation technique. Data for the study were sourced from the 2019 World Bank’s World Development Indicators for a sample of 39 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Findings: The findings confirm the significant contribution of health outcomes to economic growth in SSA. An improvement in life expectancy at birth, and the reduction in the rates of infant and under-five mortalities, lead to an increase in the growth rate of per capita gross domestic product. Besides, capital formation, education, and trade openness contribute positively to economic growth, whereas the population growth rate negatively affects the growth rate of per capita gross domestic product.

Conclusion: Given the significant effect of health outcomes on economic growth, sub-Sahara African countries will benefit from actively investing in the health sector to increase life expectancy and reduce mortality rates. This perhaps can be achieved through effective education of the populace in keeping healthy life practices and deliberate investments in the health sector by governments to improve the efficiency of the sector and to make appropriate health care available and accessible. This will contribute to the achievement of sustained economic growth rates in the region.

Keywords: Economic growth, Health outcomes, Life Expectancy, Mortality, Sub-Saharan Africa