Saudi Arabia crafts plans to attract US$7.3 billion into health from private investors

SAUDI ARABIA – The health ministry is working with partners in the private sector and across government to implement a package of initiatives for privatization projects in the health sector in several regions in the Kingdom, with an initial investment volume exceeding US$7.3 billion, Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said.

The Saudi Ministry of Health aspires to increase the private sector’s participation in the sector from to 35 percent by 2030 from 25 percent today, he said.

It is seeking to operate medical cities, hospitals and primary care centers, highlighting the launch of an approximately US$187 million project.

The project is meant to build and operate Al-Ansar Hospital in Al Madinah with a capacity of 244 beds, the partnership contract for which is expected to be signed during the fourth quarter of this year.

The Ministry of Health is also seeking to offer 74 primary health care centers in the Kingdom, with initial investment of approximately US$266 million, and the partnership contract is expected to be signed during the third quarter of next year, he said.

The ministry is also working on a US$6.1 billion project to establish two medical cities with a capacity of 1,500 beds in the regions of Asir and Al-Jouf

All this aims to provide specialized health services to the residents of the southern and northern regions of the Kingdom, and the partnership contract is expected to be signed in the second quarter of 2023, the minister reported.

Privatizing the sector will have a good effect on raising the level of competition and reducing costs on the state when privatizing, especially if compulsory insurance is applied to citizens, business consultant Majed Alsaggaf told Arab News.

However, the health sector is very large and occupies a high percentage of the state budget, meaning it has taken longer than others to reform, Alsaggaf said.

The healthcare market in UAE is predicted to grow at a CAGR of around 10% from 2019 to 2023. UAE has witnessed significant deals in terms of mergers, acquisition, and strategic tie ups between healthcare stakeholders, public and private entities to enhance the healthcare industry.

With rising initiatives by the government, the UAE Healthcare market is witnessing astonishing growth. This is due to the sedentary lifestyle of the people of Emirates and growing medical tourism in the region.

Also, the UAE government is extensively expanding and upgrading its healthcare system to develop a strong world-class healthcare infrastructure.

The government is also encouraging private sector participation to upgrade the existing infrastructure and match the quality of services offered in developed countries.

Further, the UAE Government is liberalizing policies to attract foreign investments, in order to improvise the healthcare standard and boost the healthcare industry.

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