2017 Café Series: Ubrica-Yena Monthly Health Innovation World Café Conversation

Ubrica U Logo
2017 Café Series: Ubrica-Yena Monthly Health Innovation World Café Conversation
by UBRICA ONE - Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 2:10 AM

Ustawi Biomedical Research Innovation and Industrial Centers of Africa (UBRICA) and Young Entrepreneurs Network Africa (YENA) have joined forces to create a series of World Café Conversations to address questions of central importance to health and human development in Africa.

The Café Series will take place every third Friday of the month.The focus of 2017 Cafe Series is to explore the role of financial engineering in health production in Kenya, in Africa, and in global health.


The Problem

It is widely documented that people living in Africa do not have access to good quality medical care. Where good quality care is available, it is out of reach of the majority. Much worse, African countries are not at the forefront of biomedical research, development, innovation, and commercialization of biomedical knowledge into commercial products and services.

Many African countries do not manufacture their own brand medicines or medical devices. Instead, they rely on rarefied manufacture of generic medicines by a fragmented group of entrepreneurs, who are not grounded on a unified platform of knowledge production for scientific discovery of medicines and medical devices.

Indeed, the enterprise for translation of science into products for everyday domestic use and clinical care does not exist in Africa. For complete products, African countries rely on importation of all medical, scientific and technological goods and services. The absence of biomedical and health care innovation has resulted in a huge burden of disease in Africa.

Biomedical and health care innovation depend on good financial structure. African countries have not created financial structures to fund biomedical innovation and health production. Lo (2016) explained that when financial infrastructure is absent, large scale innovation is not possible. By contrast, with a proper financial structure any level of innovation is possible.

According to Lo, when financial infrastructure is present, large scale innovation is possible. Financial innovation is a necessary and sufficient condition for innovation to occur. The financial system (i.e., global money market) has enough financial resources to solve all global health problems. 


The Purpose

The purpose of the 2017 Café Series is to engage in an open space facilitated dialogue to enable us to discover how we can create conditions for financial innovation to fund breakthroughs in biomedicine and health in Africa.  Innovation in biomedicine and health production will rely on our ability to build financial infrastructure. The 2017 Café Series will take place in Nairobi City, led by teams of graduates of financial engineering program in Jommo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

2017 Café Series Questions

The 2017 Café Series will address the following questions:

  1. Could financial engineering produce health in Kenya?
  2. Could financial engineering produce health in Africa?
  3. Could financial engineering produce global health?


The 2017 Café series is a facilitated dialogue, in an open space large group format. It will involve participants from diverse disciplines. Key disciplines involved include medicine, pharmaceutical science, biomedical engineering, law, economics, finance, financial engineering, journalism, public health, communication, public relations, architecture, construction science, real estate, property development, and the like.

Important considerations

  • Development and Construction Real Estate Investment Trust (D-REIT) to fund construction of 100 Ubrica Retail Clinical Centers distributed to 47 counties in Kenya.
  • Security Health Loan (SHL) to fund mortgages of 100 URCC units by franchisees.
  • Security Health Loan Backed Securities (SHLBS) to hedge the risk of the SHL.
  • Credit Default Swap to guarantee the SHLBS.
  • Medium Term Note to fund operations of 100 URCCs and the co-operative society in the Sustainable One-Health Community.



The Café Series will take place every third Friday of the month in 2017, on the following dates:

Ø  January 20, 2017

Ø  February 17, 2017

Ø  March 17, 2017

Ø  April 21, 2017

Ø  May 19, 2017

Ø  June 16, 2017

Ø  July 21, 2017

Ø  August 18, 2017

Ø  September 22, 2017

Ø  October 20, 2017

Ø  November 17, 2017

Ø  December 22, 2017


2nd Floor, The Hive, Westpoint Building, Westlands Nairobi




Lo, A. W. (2016). Funding medical innovation. Paper presented May 18, 2016 at Financial Innovations in Healthcare, London Business School, London, England. (based on joint work with Jayna Cummings, David Fagnan, John Frishkopf, Jose-Maria Fernandez, Carole Ho, Austin Gromatzky, Ken Kosik, John McKew, Vahid Montazerhodjat, Roger Stein, Richard Thakor, David Weinstock, Nora Yang)