On the occasion of the French Healthcare Innovation & Business Forum 2023, five foreign delegations had the opportunity to take the stage in the amphitheater of the Maison de la Chimie to present the challenges and opportunities of their respective healthcare markets.
Complementing the exhibition stands, the B2B and B2G meetings and the themed conferences, these presentations from five countries played a crucial role in raising French players’ awareness of the global stakes in the healthcare sector and the market prospects open to them.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are all keen to collaborate with France, which is recognized for its excellence in this sector, and are keen to attract new investors. These presentations provided details of the specific characteristics of various geopolitical contexts favorable to the establishment of our member companies in these markets, paving the way for building fruitful partnerships aiming at meeting contemporary challenges in the healthcare field.
Overview of the healthcare market in Saudi Arabia
Dr. Adil Monshi, Director of Investment Promotion, introduced participants to Saudi Arabia’s far-reaching transition, and the kingdom’s ambition to become “a pioneer of innovation and a model of global success, on all fronts” (quote from King Salmane Ben Abdulaziz Al-Saoud).
The Saudi healthcare system is a central pillar of this vision, and the transformation of the hospital model is the keystone of this strategy. Thus, from a hospital-based model, the country intends to transform its healthcare system into a model focused on the patient and health prevention, as opposed to treatment alone. This change of direction is made possible, among other things, by the deployment of Patient Support Programs and the digitization of data.
The conference raised awareness of the issue of financing this vast reform, which, according to projections, will be enabled by a partnership between the public and private sectors. Such a partnership promises major investment opportunities for the private sector, since the share of private sector financing is set to rise from 25% to 35% of investments by 2030, thus ensuring greater financial stability for the system. Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed Ben Salmane points to the beginning of a “new, more powerful era of cooperation and partnership between the public and private sectors”. This prosperity will aim to improve access to healthcare services, the quality of care, the efficiency of use of the healthcare system, and ensure the financial sustainability of the system.
The doctor pointed out that all types of healthcare companies will be welcome within this project, the magnitude of which requires different types of technical, technological, financial, legal, educational and infrastructural knowledge. The country is already home to over 120 classified projects, spread across 10 different strategic themes. The conference concluded with a detailed presentation of the Saudi market analysis, and an essential reminder: these investment opportunities for healthcare companies will be further explored at the 2023 edition of the Global Health Exhibition in Riyad, from october 29 to 31.
Overview of the healthcare market in Egypt
Over the past decade, Egypt has seen extremely significant population and economic growth. Despite this progress, it must nevertheless face the challenges posed by an ageing population. Demand for healthcare has risen accordingly, supported by presidential initiatives aimed at raising awareness of important health issues. What’s more, the more than 9 million refugees welcomed by the country must also benefit from quality care.
This context has given rise to several far-reaching reforms of the healthcare system since 2018, the main strategic interest of which is the implementation of a prevention-based approach. Patients are to have access to regular check-ups, and doctors to a system for digitizing their patients’ data. The government wants every citizen to be covered by social security, family medical history record systems to be set up, and the range of medical examinations on offer to become ever more comprehensive. A number of financial solutions have been put in place to achieve this, including a 150 million euro loan already approved by the AFD.
Each year, investments increase (by between 7% and 16%), but the government plans to intensify this progression, in order to accelerate the pace of development of healthcare projects of all kinds. The aim is twofold: to provide better, more efficient access to healthcare, and to prevent future crises affecting the health system. While Egypt is already in a position to provide its citizens with highly qualified medical personnel, ambitious training programs are also needed to increase the number of practitioners to support the development of these numerous healthcare projects.
Egyptian decision-makers also have their sights set on reducing medical devices waste (64,000 tonnes every year), and implement waste treatment avoid any biological threat to local populations.
Overview of the healthcare market in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is also currently undergoing an in-depth reform of its healthcare system. This reform, made possible by substantial investment, has two main aims : to protect its citizens, and to transform the country into a genuine healthcare hub for its geographical neighbors. Uzbekistan faces a number of logistical and geographical challenges in this progress, due to the vastness of its territory, full of remote areas that are difficult to access. As a result, large-scale expenditure on infrastructure and specialized mobile units is required, in order to extend the country’s medical coverage for essential care.
The country’s stable political and economic environment is conducive to foreign investment in this type of major project, a context reinforced by very strong demographic growth (900,000 additional inhabitants every year since 2021). These investments can be made in complete safety, since they are protected by several state guarantees, which have already enabled investments to increase fivefold over the past seven years, topping the $5 billion mark. The government has stepped up initiatives to collaborate with the private sector, which now provides 30% of healthcare nationwide.
Finally, the Uzbek delegation emphasized Uzbekistan’s prime location for investors, thanks to its privileged geographical position in the heart of Central Asia, and its stable political and economic context.
A special effort has also been put into education, as the country continues to specialize in liver and kidney transplants. There are currently 100,000 medical students, including 20,000 from abroad, demonstrating the country’s determination to become a true regional powerhouse for health. The sector is gradually being privatized, enabling the state to return to a healthier economic balance.
Overview of the healthcare market in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan’s economy, the largest in Central Asia, is booming. At the same time, its population is aging, and life expectancy is increasing extremely rapidly: citizens therefore expect more support in accessing healthcare. This is particularly true for people living in more remote areas, which is commonplace in the country due to its geographical characteristics. In response to this situation, the government has expressed its willingness to increase healthcare spending, forecasting that it will represent 5% of GDP by 2027. Population coverage has already doubled over the past three years, and political efforts are already bearing fruit, with mortality falling throughout the country. Another important fact : the volume of investment in the pharmaceutical industry increased by 600% between 2013 and 2020!
While the country’s primary focus is on essential healthcare, more and more attention is being paid to non-communicable diseases, due to the increased risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes among the Kazakh population. The overall strategy has already changed, moving towards more screening campaigns despite the costs involved.
As a result of its development, Kazakhstan is investing in research and development and promoting the breadth of knowledge of its staff in many fields, across 80 establishments. Particular attention has been paid to cardiac surgery, neurosurgery (it is, for example, the major reference for Gamma Knife radiosurgery in Central Asia), and organ transplants. The country intends to cooperate with a number of prestigious foreign universities, and to benefit from their transfer of skills in order to gain recognition for its specialists within the international professional community. As for French companies, the Institut Curie, Sanofi, C3 Medical and the Fondation Hopale have already established their presence in this market and helped deploy numerous healthcare projects.
Overview of the healthcare market in Ukraine
For obvious reasons, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has forced a change of course in the Ukrainian Ministry of Health’s medical strategy for the coming years. The healthcare system, a veritable target of war, has already been heavily impacted by the conflict, with 1,400 medical establishments damaged, 190 of them irreversibly, and over 600 pharmacies damaged or even destroyed. This damage represents a number of opportunities for medical infrastructure companies and medical assemblers.
According to the World Bank, it will cost $16.4 billion over the next decade to restore the Ukrainian healthcare system to its pre-war state. At present, the government is considering the deployment of a financial partnership structure jointly involving the public and private sectors, and estimates the future value of the market at over 10 billion dollars, via the creation of 200 clinics, 280 general hospitals and 100 hospital clusters.
Another growing market is the pharmaceutical industry, estimated to be worth between 2.5 and 3 billion dollars. This sector requires heavy investment to repair the damage caused by the war. Ukrainian personnel are highly qualified, and the country boasts a highly influential education system in the region, thanks to a private technology sector (worth 1.2 billion dollars a year) that enables highly ambitious research. Despite the damage, Ukraine’s healthcare markets are dynamic, and the country has plenty of resources and a large workforce to attract successful investment.
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