Inadequate access to finance is a major barrier to the growth of the private sector. Financial institutions are often hesitant to lend to the private health sector as they consider it risky. Private health care businesses tend to be owned and operated by clinicians with limited business and financial management knowledge. As a result, many health care business owners lack the skills and information required expand their services or improve their facilities, and financial institutions are unwilling to serve them.
SHOPS Plus aims to increase financing to the private health sector by providing training and technical assistance to both financial institutions and private providers. The project also helps USAID identify financial institutions that could benefit from a Development Credit Authority (DCA) guarantee. The DCA is a credit guarantee program that encourages lending to businesses—predominantly small and medium enterprises. The guarantee serves to stimulate commercial investment in health care to improve access to and quality of services.
With the ultimate aim of improving health outcomes, the project supports both health providers and financial institutions.
SHOPS Plus improves access to credit for private providers to enhance or expand their practices. The project helps providers strengthen business management skills to improve their overall business operations. SHOPS Plus technical assistance includes:
- Assessments – Determine private provider’s financial and business management needs and develop tailored technical assistance.
- Networking – Organize trade fairs for private providers to meet health equipment suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, IT companies, financial institutions and representatives of the public sector.
- Training and coaching – Provide instruction in improving business and financial management and credit-readiness. Advise providers on their options for accessing credit, support them in developing business plans, and guide them through the loan process.
SHOPS Plus helps financial institutions expand their private health sector business. As a first step, SHOPS Plus conducts a readiness assessment, which drives the design of technical assistance efforts. The project develops a strategy to establish the private health sector as a profitable business segment for the financial institution. Activities often include:
- Product development – Adapt, develop, and test suite of financial and non-financial products targeting private providers.
- Lending methodology – Develop appropriate policies and procedures to evaluate loan requests from the private health sector.
- Development Credit Authority guarantees – Support in the implementation of risk-sharing agreements to stimulate investment in the health sector.
- Training – Train personnel on sales and loan evaluation techniques.
- Business development – Support sales activities to develop a strong pipeline of private health providers requiring loans and other banking services.
Examples of our work
In Tanzania, SHOPS Plus worked with banks and equipment suppliers to develop a medical equipment financing product for private health providers. The product addresses collateral challenges through a risk-sharing arrangement. SHOPS is also supporting a DCA guarantee with a bank and training health providers in business and financial management.
In Madagascar, SHOPS Plus worked on the design of a credit assessment model that a bank is using to leverage health data to increase access to finance for social franchises. The model aims to reduce costs of lending and adapt product loans to providers’ needs. In addition, the project is rolling out business training and coaching to private health providers and supporting two financial institutions to increase health sector lending.