A new report from Malaria No More UK, titled "The Malaria Dividend," reveals that Kenya's GDP could increase by over Sh1.2 trillion between 2023 and 2030 if the UN target of reducing malaria by 90 per cent from 2015 levels by 2030 is achieved.

This substantial economic uplift highlights the significant impact that malaria reduction could have on the nation's economic landscape.

The research underscores that achieving this target could lead to an average annual increase of nearly $16 billion across African economies.

For context, this sum exceeds 10 per cent of the collective annual health expenditure for all African countries.

Additionally, reaching this goal could generate an extra $31 billion in exports for some of the most malaria-endemic countries in Africa.

Notably, G7 nations, including the US and the UK, could witness substantial economic gains, further underscoring the importance of sustained investment in malaria eradication efforts.

Malaria continues to exact a heavy toll, claiming over 600,000 lives annually, with a disproportionate impact on children and the working-age population.

The disease not only imposes a significant burden on healthcare systems but also hampers educational progress and economic productivity due to illness-related absences from school and work.

Countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and Angola stand to benefit the most from malaria reduction, with potential GDP boosts amounting to billions of dollars.

This economic dividend could be reinvested to strengthen healthcare infrastructure, thereby enhancing resilience against future health threats.

As the world gears up for the G7 Summit, set to take place in Italy, the report underscores the urgent need for continued collaboration and investment in global health initiatives.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's emphasis on stimulating economic growth in Africa, coupled with existing efforts by organizations like Gavi and The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, underscores the collective commitment to combating malaria and bolstering health systems.

Astrid Bonfield, CEO of Malaria No More UK, emphasizes that increased investment in malaria eradication can yield multifaceted benefits, including saving lives, boosting trade, and strengthening health security globally.

"Investing more in the fight to end malaria can save millions of lives, grow African economies and boost trade. This can unlock new funds to bolster health spending and strengthen health security in African countries and globally, showing how malaria investment can rebalance economic power and deliver wide-ranging benefits," Bonfield stated.

"The rise in global trade with African countries also allows other nations to keep the disease at bay by sustaining malaria research and development funding and continuing to invest in life sciences more widely to tackle other infectious diseases. "

"In a storm of global challenges, G7 and malaria-endemic countries can work hand in hand to drive greater investment in malaria, through Gavi and The Global Fund to save lives, unlock prosperity and strengthen health security," Bonfield added.

Michael Charles, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, stressed the importance of closing the investment gap for malaria control.

Michael Charles, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, urged increased global investment to tackle malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that continues to devastate communities.

"Malaria needlessly steals lives and hinders economic progress in endemic countries," Charles said.

"We must prioritize reaching our 2030 target of a 90 per cent reduction in malaria cases compared to 2015 levels to break this tragic cycle."

Charles highlighted the funding gap that hinders wider implementation of existing tools and treatments.

"This research reinforces the need for increased investment," he stressed. "While the initial costs may appear high, the long-term benefits far outweigh them."

He concluded with a message of hope: "With the right resources, we can deploy effective malaria control strategies worldwide, saving lives and boosting economies through local growth and increased trade."

However, despite the availability of new tools such as vaccines and next-generation bed nets, sustained funding is crucial to ensure widespread access and effectiveness.

The report also includes a poignant case study of George Otieno, a father and fisherman from Kenya, whose community grapples with the debilitating effects of malaria.

"Malaria is always affecting my family, year in year out. Even the fishing community… when you’re sick with malaria you’re not going to work, you’re not going to fish - it’s very dangerous to the fishing community," Otieno said.

"It’s important to advocate to end malaria so it can give us the energy to build our economy…if you’re healthy, the revenue we collect will go up because fisherman and crews are working, mothers are working and those doing related trading activities are also working."

Otieno emphasizes the profound impact of malaria on livelihoods and underscores the importance of concerted efforts to achieve zero malaria, which would enable communities to thrive economically.

Companies like Fever-Tree, renowned for their commitment to sustainability, are actively engaged in combating malaria by funding public health campaigns and raising awareness.

Saffy Jones, Sustainability Manager at Fever-Tree, stresses the importance of global collaboration in defeating malaria and the positive ripple effect it would have on economies worldwide.

"We understand the devastation malaria causes through the experiences of our partners in many regions where we source our ingredients from; it claims millions of lives, causes terrible sickness and ravages societies," Jones stated.

"But it is a disease that can be defeated and this research shows that with a coordinated global effort we can all make a difference and in so doing boost national economies in Africa."

"This historic humanitarian achievement would create a positive ripple effect around the world is something we should all get behind," Jones added.

In conclusion, the report reinforces the imperative of prioritizing malaria eradication efforts to unlock economic potential, save lives, and foster global prosperity.

With concerted action and sustained investment, the goal of reducing malaria by 90 per cent by 2030 remains within reach, offering a pathway to a healthier and more prosperous future for all.