This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
The healthcare sector in Egypt is large as compared to sectors to its neighbors in the Middle East. Egypt offers a variety of opportunities, as the Egyptian government is keen on expanding the healthcare industry, especially relating to medical devices.
The Egyptian healthcare sector is currently facing challenge in handling the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. As a result, the Government of Egypt has approved the increased its healthcare budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal period. The demand for increased services and medical supplies has been a significant challenge during the pandemic.
Another main challenge the sector faces is shortage of qualified doctors (by 33%) and nurses (by 43%). Although Egypt has about 220,000 registered doctors (2018 figure), about 110,000 of those are out of the country
Reforms in the sector include the planned introduction of a National Health Insurance program throughout the country. In June 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a new US$530 million project to support Egypt’s national goal of improving public healthcare, including expanding family planning services, scaling up its groundbreaking Hepatitis C program, and supporting the new Universal Health Insurance System. The project entails the digital transformation of the healthcare system, including creating a network among service providers and implementing medical records database.
In addition, the project aims to improve services at 600 primary healthcare facilities and 27 hospitals, scale up the community health workers program, and expand the screening of Hepatitis C for up to 35 million people and treat an estimated 1.5 million patients.
The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 16 social development projects with a total commitment of US$6.69 billion. The Bank finances programs and projects to help Egypt reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. The focus of the Bank’s support includes support for social safety nets, health care, energy, transport, rural water and sanitation, social housing, education, job creation, and micro and small enterprises development programs.
Egypt’s medical device market is the second largest in the Middle East region. Sales of medical devices totaled USD 20 million in 2018 (latest available figure). As Egypt produces very little medical equipment, the vast majority of supplies are imported.
Another mega project that is currently in the pipeline is the new Medical City in the New Administrative Capital. The GOE has allocated the land to establish a Medical City that would include high-end healthcare providers and to establish a medical and a nursing school. The aim is to provide comprehensive and high-level service to Egyptian who normally seek treatment abroad and to attract patients from the GCC area.
Technical medical equipment, such as radiography and ultrasound apparatus, vital statistic monitors, dialysis machines and laboratory microscopes are imported and distributed by a handful of companies who benefit from low import tariffs, the biggest of which, El Gomhoureya, is wholly owned by the government.
Private healthcare providers often choose to import the equipment they need, which, according to the country’s customs laws, must be brand new to be allowed into the country. This can be a complicated process, yet nonetheless Egyptian physicians who travel abroad for conferences often acquire devices in this manner.
As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and the resultant healthcare crisis, the Egyptian government has pledged to improve its regulation of the healthcare sector. As a result, there is a boost in the purchase of medical devices by private sector actors. Similarly, there is a proliferation of privately-owned hospitals and clinics, which has steeply raised the demand for medical and lab equipment and medical personnel. Although there have been some improvements in the registration process, bureaucratic red tape remains a business impediment and the tender process is not transparent.
Best sales prospects in medical equipment and supplies include, but are not limited, to the following categories:
- Diagnostic imaging equipment
- Oncology and radiology equipment
- Medical disposable supplies
- Surgical and medical equipment
- ICU monitoring equipment
- Laboratory and scientific equipment
- Mobile clinics
- Digital equipment
The government prefers investing in preventative medicine, which offers opportunities in medical devices. According to the World Bank, less than 5 percent of total investments are allocated toward health services. Considering the strong demand, the medical device sector is ripe for substantial growth in the short to the mid-term.
In line with the country’s efforts to upgrade its overall healthcare system, it is expected that there will be opportunities in the long-term in the following services:
- Medical devices and lab equipement
- Construction, management, and rehabilitation of hospitals and rural healthcare facilities
- Emergency care (ambulatory) services
- Training programs for physicians, nurses, and lab technicians
- Establishment of biological and laboratory centers
- Development of quality standards for hospitals, laboratories, and healthcare institutions
- Capacity building and consultancy services for regulatory and accreditation bodies
- Training programs including on FDA-drug classification for government officials.
Commercial Specialist in charge of the oil and gas sector: Mrs. Rania Mekhail