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With an estimated annual growth rate of 10%, the Middle East is now consistently outpacing traditionally sought-after “pharmerging” heavyweights such as China and Brazil. The United Arab Emirates is at the center of this newfound momentum-asserting its own credentials as a prospective destination for big-ticket foreign investment in healthcare.
Accounting for less than 2% of the global pharmaceutical market, the Middle East has long been somewhat overlooked by many drugmakers, most of whom seemed more intent on chasing demand in the decidedly more populous Asian market space. But, with an estimated annual growth rate of 10%, the region is now consistently outpacing traditionally sought-after “pharmerging” heavyweights such as China and Brazil, and demanding a recalibration of life science companies’ emerging market strategies.
“While the IMF recently downgraded its overall outlook for the world economy, it’s perhaps pertinent that it has conversely been steadily raising its projections for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with economic growth now anticipated to be sustained over the long-term on the back of increased government investment and an improved regulatory environment,” says Mohamed Galal, Bayer’s vice president and head of Middle East, consumer health division.
At the center of this newfound momentum sits the United Arab Emirates. Once considered predominantly as a reliable staging post for engagement and interaction with the greater region, the diminutive, but technologically astute and developmentally advanced Emirati market looks now set to assert its own credentials as a prospective destination for big-ticket foreign investment in healthcare. Not only is the country’s modest population set to expand from 9.4 million people today to over 11 million by the end of the decade, but annual healthcare spending is projected to account for 4.6% of the country’s GDP by 2026, rising to well over USD 20 billion as the Arab nation pursues its diversification away from dependency on oil and instead bets big on high-end technologies of the future.
To view the full article on UAE’s life sciences and healthcare markets, produced by Focus Reports and featured in Pharm Exec's March 2020 issue, click
(cycle down to page 28).
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