The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA), with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and organizers of the Saudi-American Healthcare Forum (SAHF) is organizing a Healthcare Technology & Hospital Information Services Trade Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, from April 23 – 28, 2016. The purpose of the mission is to introduce U.S. firms to the rapidly expanding healthcare sectors in these two countries and to assist U.S. companies in pursuing opportunities in this sector.
The mission is timed to take place during the Saudi-American Healthcare Forum (SAHF) on April 25-27, 2016 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The SAHF is an exclusive event dedicated to relationship building, partnership development, and the exchange of best practices between thought leaders in the United States and the Middle East.
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TARGET U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
TRADE MISSION FEATURES
Fees and Expenses
Except as otherwise noted, expenses for travel, lodging, meals and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant.
Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no later than February 12, 2016. The U.S. Department of Commerce will review applications and make selection decisions on a rolling basis beginning October 15, 2015 until the maximum of 15 participants is selected. Applications received after February 12, 2016, will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.
WHY SAUDI ARABIA AND KUWAIT?
Although the size of the healthcare market in Saudi Arabia is significantly greater than that in Kuwait, these two countries share many similarities, including growing populations and increasing rates of chronic disease. Both governments have committed significant resources to modernize their respective healthcare systems. But the new priority is to achieve greater efficiencies based on patient-centric care, and U.S. companies are well suited to implement the next generation of healthcare delivery solutions needed in these markets.
The Saudi healthcare sector is the largest in the Middle East. Healthcare and education remain a top priority for the Saudi government, representing about 44 percent of government spending. These were the only line items in Saudi Arabia’s 2015 budget to increase, reflecting the importance of these two sectors in achieving the government’s goal of economic diversification, job creation and building the foundation of a knowledge-based economy. Budgeted expenditures in the Healthcare & Social Affairs sectors in 2015 were set at $42.67 billion, a huge 48 percent growth over 2014 figures. Healthcare expenditures and delivery are dominated by the public sector, with government spending representing almost 79 percent of total spending on this sector.
The Saudi government is investing in academic programs related to nursing, medicine, surgery, dentistry, oncology, organ transplant, cardiovascular disease, neuroscience and genetic disorders. Leading hospitals in the United States are forming joint ventures with Saudi Arabian partners to deliver healthcare services in the Kingdom and offer training programs and research centers. The Saudi 2015 budget included the construction of new primary care centers, 11 new hospitals, 2 medical cities, and about 20 medical centers and polyclinics.
The size of the Saudi health IT market is between $500 million and $1billion. The Saudi government has already taken several significant steps to create a national eHealth network, including implementing a two-phase, 10-year plan to modernize and expand the Integrated and Comprehensive Health Program, which will connect more than 3,000 government-managed healthcare facilities by 2020. Saudi regulations around health IT, data privacy and security, and telecommunications are generally favorable to foreign businesses. Major opportunities exist for U.S. companies to enter the market and establish a presence.
In 2015, the Kuwaiti government agreed to spend $115 billion on development projects over the next five years (2015-2020) as part of Kuwait’s National Development Plan, stretching from 2010 to 2035. The plan introduces ideas and laws to fund development projects and to build a stronger healthcare system by enhancing the healthcare infrastructure and promoting healthy lifestyles and behavior. Kuwait’s young and fast-growing population has the world’s 13th highest incidence of obesity and 7th highest incidence of diabetes. As a result, there is an increasing demand for healthcare services. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Works approved in 2012 a $4.42 billion project to replace/upgrade nine of Kuwait’s public hospitals. Although the Kuwaiti government offers free healthcare services and accounts for more than 80 percent of healthcare spending, many patients are willing to pay a premium for private treatment. The private sector is estimated to represent 15-20 percent of healthcare spending in coming years.
Additional information about the healthcare technologies market opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait can be found here:
SAUDI ARABIA TRAVEL INFORMATION
Detailed information regarding Saudi Arabia’s business visa requirements can be found on the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia website and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
KUWAIT TRAVEL INFORMATION
Detailed information regarding Kuwait’s visa requirements can be found on the Embassy of the State of Kuwait website and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
A Special Thanks To the Following Organizations
American Middle East Institute
Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce
National U.S. – Arab Chamber of Commerce
US Cooperative for International Patient Programs
US – Saudi Arabian Business Council
U.S. Department of Commerce
Tel: 412- 644-2816
U.S. Commercial Service – Riyadh
Tel: +966-11-488-3800 x 4159
U.S. Commercial Service – Kuwait
Tel: +965 2259-1354
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