Orange buys into African digital healthcare platform

Orange has teamed up with insurance firm AXA Assurance Maroc to buy a majority stake in DabaDoc, a Moroccan digital healthcare platform.

Aside from a financial investment of an unspecified amount, the deal seems to be centred on Orange providing access to its digital payments infrastructure with a view to helping DabaDoc grow its business.

“In cementing this tri-party partnership, DabaDoc will benefit from the broad experience of AXA, one of the global leaders in health insurance, and Orange’s technological expertise and payment solutions to enable digital solutions to be developed that rapidly scale and benefit patients and the entire African healthcare ecosystem,” a statement from Orange reads.

DabaDoc, which describes itself as an online medical appointment management platform, is a free service, in that it costs customers nothing to make an appointment with a medical professional. However, the service does not cover treatment costs. The company did not specify how much medical professionals might have to pay to use it.

DabaDoc was founded around seven years ago and attracted AXA Assurance Maroc as an investor in 2018. AXA’s involvement with the company helps its policyholders interact with healthcare professionals, both through its appointment booking system and remote consultation infrastructure, it said.

Following this latest deal, which is slated to close in the third quarter of this year, Orange Middle East and Africa and entities led by AXA Assurance Maroc will jointly hold a majority stake in DabaDoc. The company’s founders, Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni and Driss Drissi-Kaitouni, will remain as minority owners.

DabaDoc’s platform and solutions are used by thousands of healthcare professionals in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, Orange noted. Its investment, along with that of AXA, will help the firm speed up its growth plans and extend its reach into other regions, it said, highlighting Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular.

Co-founder Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni expressed the importance of the investment in driving the company’s growth ambitions, while sharing the now ubiquitous message that the importance of the digitalisation of healthcare services has rocketed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. For their part, Orange and AXA provided executive comments that talked up their own contributions to the development of healthcare services in Africa.

But this investment is about more than CSR box-ticking; there’s a real need for digital healthcare in Africa and a sizeable business to be built in this market for those that tackle it in the right way.

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