Investment

Gulf teases growth opportunities for UK health industry investors

For those of you that might have listened to the BBC World Service Business Daily podcast today, you will have no doubt heard about the struggles of reduced spending on healthcare in a time where the cost of care is increasing predominantly due to an ageing population.

The May Government’s efforts to reign in spiraling NHS costs combined with uncertainty over Brexit has put Britain’s healthcare industry suppliers under pressure to tap into alternate sources of growth.

Enter the Gulf’s booming demand for better healthcare. As the Gulf populations continue to grow, people live longer and their healthcare needs become increasingly complex. Many governments within the Gulf are seeking solutions to enable them to meet this growing demand and improve their frontline healthcare services and delivery facilities.

From Dubai to Doha, British healthcare related exports to the Gulf are rising rapidly. Gulf countries have witnessed tremendous changes in the past decade with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar all aggressively seeking to partner with leading international healthcare organisations to transform their economies.

The Saudi and UAE economies are diversifying rapidly into knowledge-driven industries, meaning there are numerous opportunities for exporters and investors willing to commit to a long-term presence together with skills and technology transfer. Saudi Arabia is looking to build its pharmaceutical sector. Furthermore, the UAE has a 2021 goal of being in the world’s top 20 medical tourism destinations.

The lifting of sanctions on Iran also holds out the intriguing possibility of growth. As with its defense and automotive sectors, Iran’s healthcare sector has previously suffered from a lack of access to international investment and expertise. However, with a population of 77.5 million and a now rapidly increasing import growth in general healthcare and pharmaceuticals, the prospects look enticing.

Earlier this month in Dubai the Arab Health 2017 Exhibition was held. It is the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the MENA region. Some 4,400 companies from over 70 countries participated. This year over 150 leading UK healthcare professionals and clinicians together with renowned hospital groups traveled to the Middle East to showcase ‘the very best of British’ healthcare. From breakthroughs in gene therapy to diabetes treatment and prevention, integrated hospital care systems and clinical trials, through to surgical equipment and anesthetic instrumentation, British firms are helping local partners develop their healthcare systems and facilities.

The Gulf is an area of rapid growth for the healthcare industry, and the pace does not look set to slow down. With so much new information concerning potential opportunities generating such a large amount of conflicting information it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those that succeed will be those with access to clear, concise and consolidated information without the extra noise. PSA can help you.