Zanzibar Pharma Limited

North Africa, South Asia Health

Zanzibar Pharma aims to create a new company in generic medicines in Egypt and North Africa.

Our investment

Addressing the constrained availability of high-quality medicines throughout Africa due to the lack of competition, CDC invested $100 million into a specialised pharmaceuticals platform. We joined with Development Partners International, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to bring together an Egyptian pharmaceuticals manufacturer with an Indian generic drugs company to create a new platform to introduce lower cost generic drugs into Egypt. Together, the three founding investors have committed an initial $250 million of capital that has been used to fund the acquisition and combination of the two companies.


Improve health outcomes including reducing mortality from non-communicable diseases (SDG 3.4); and support achievement of universal health coverage (SDG 3.8).


CDC’s investment will help create a platform that will introduce lower cost generic drugs into Egypt’s health systems, increasing affordability and access to high quality oncology and critical care medicines. By introducing generic drugs into markets dominated by originators, this drops average market prices resulting in healthcare systems savings.

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics

Egypt. Other geographies anticipated in follow-on transactions.

Cancer and critical care patients. Diligence indicates that patients across all socioeconomic groups stand to benefit from our entry into the market.

Scale Depth/Duration

Health system savings will be broadly distributed across the economy.

Deep impact through life-saving medicines. Savings to the health care system in Egypt are expected to accrue over the medium term. It is expected that the platform will introduce new generic medicines in Egypt at more affordable prices.

Grid Score Contribution


To help us direct our investments, we use a tool called the Development Impact Grid. The Grid scores every investment we plan out of a score of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in the country and whether investment in that sector will lead to jobs.

  • Financial: The commercial market does not offer capital in sufficient quantities to meet the company's plans / needs. Anchor investor in newly founded platform – de-risking the execution phase.
  • Value-add: CDC will help advance a developmental strategy, focusing on introducing generics into Africa, and uphold the highest environmental, social and business integrity standards.
  • Execution: The impact case relies on the businesses integrating and scaling up.
  • External: Risk in introducing new products given highly regulated process. Risk that the market does not adopt lower prices or the product price saving is not passed along the chain to patients.
  • Evidence: This approach is relatively innovative for these markets and the depth of impact achieved will need to be assessed throughout the life of the investment.

Environmental and social aspects

We are working closely with the the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and DPI (Development Partners International) (co-investors) to support the platform and the underlying assets in India and Egypt to develop an environmental and social management system (ESMS) in line with international standards, and to build the capacity of the existing environmental, social and governance functions.

Key facts


Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

North Africa, South Asia
Egypt, India

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.

Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

Direct Equity
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date CDC committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that CDC committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

June 2020

For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.


This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.

United Kingdom

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