Cape Town – Africa’s pharmaceuticals market is expected to be worth $45 billion (about R665bn) next year. Of that, it is estimated that medical cannabis will make up about $7.2bn (R106bn).
Speaking at the CannaTech conference in Cape Town on Monday, Warren Schewitz, chief executive of Southern Sun Pharma – a South African cannabis company focused on cultivating, processing and distributing strains and related products across the continent – said: “The recent report by Prohibition Partners estimated it to be a $7.2bn per year market in Africa. I think out of this, South Africa’s share of the market was estimated to be about $2.5bn a year.”
The main theme of the conference is the exploitation of Africa’s large-scale cannabis-growing potential for local and international export markets.
Meanwhile, the continent’s unregulated market is estimated to be worth upwards of $10bn.
According to data collected by Prohibition Partners (the foremost consultants for independent data and intelligence on the world cannabis market): “Five of the world’s top 30 countries for cannabis prevalence among adult populations are in Africa.”
iCAN: Israel-Cannabis and CannaTech founder and chief executive Saul Kaye said: “Cannabis is going to affect every part of the industrial value chain, from fuels to plastics to fibres to building materials, and then all the medicine. You have to remember it is an illegal plant, so most of the people using it are not in the legal value chain. They are in the black market, and as we transition patients from the black market to the legal value chain, the explosion in this market is really going to be big.”
According to the latest Prohibition Partners report: “From an agricultural perspective, cannabis is easier to grow and more lucrative than other crops such as maize and sugar cane. In Congo, for instance, a 100kg sack of cannabis can be sold for $96 to $128, far more than the $54 that maize can command.”
Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris told the conference: “Africa is the last great undeveloped market on the planet. By the time my 7-year-old daughter is 40, there will be more than two billion consumers on this continent, and that represents a huge market that is largely untapped and largely unserviced for some of the world’s biggest multinationals.
“We position the African offer at the heart of the pitch that we make, and we think SA makes the most sense because of its infrastructure and its sophisticated institutional structure, which means investors have ease of doing business, and the systems have accountability to make sure your business is run on a fair regulatory and legal platform.”
* $1 = R14,83.@MwangiGithahu