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Healthcare Resource Guide: Egypt

Egypt Statistics

Summary

Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process

Barriers

Trade Events

CS Contacts

Capital: Cairo

Population: 88,487,396 (July 2015 est.)

GDP*: 4.2%

Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)

Language: Arabic

Summary

The healthcare sector in Egypt, although large compared to its Middle East counterparts, has been relatively stagnant over the past few years. That being said, there are a variety of investment opportunities as the Egyptian government is very keen on expanding the healthcare industry, especially relating to medical devices, and plans for the development of 26 new hospitals. Healthcare expenditures range from 3 percent to 5 percent of GDP. According to Egypt’s Five Year Macroeconomic Framework and Strategy (fiscal year 2014-15 through 2018-19), Egypt’s 2015-16 health budget is EGP 51.6 billion (USD 6.5 billion), which is 6.5 percent of the national budget. The Egyptian government recently launched Insurance coverage for all qualified Egyptians as a pilot project in seven governates in Upper Egypt. This is the first step to be taken toward national coverage. This project includes the upgrade of a number of hospitals and clinics so that they will meet adequate medical service level.

Market Entry

Consumer healthcare grew by 12 percent in 2016 and spending was USD 25.4 billion. The World Bank estimates that the average life expectancy for Egyptians has increased from 69–73 from the years 2005-2010. The Ministry of Health operates 1300 hospitals or 60 percent of hospital beds. Universities, the Army and the private sector constitute the other 40 percent. Egypt’s medical device market is the second largest in the Middle East. Sales in medical devices totaled USD 501.7 million in 2015, a five percent increase from the previous year. As Egypt produces very little medical equipment, the vast majority of the market is supplied by imports, with just one Egyptian company producing a limited range of ultrasound scanners. 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 are thus limited in choice and price and often choose to personally import the equipment they need, which, according to customs laws, must be brand new and unused to be brought into the country. This can be a complicated process, yet nonetheless Egyptian physicians who travel abroad for conferences often acquire devices in this manner that are not offered by El Gomhoureya.

Current Market Trends

Formerly the Egyptian healthcare system was predominantly controlled by the government, whereas in the past ten plus years the private sector has taken on a more active role as the standard of care in the public sector has declined. Though disposable income in generally low in Egypt, making unavoidable healthcare spending a serious expense for a majority of Egypt’s citizens (estimated per capita GDP was USD 3,146 in 2014 nonetheless the majority of Egyptian patients prefer to utilize private healthcare facilities.

The Ministry of Health is currently undertaking an ambitious plan of building new hospitals and renovating and refurbishing existing medical facilities with new technologies and up-to-date equipment, especially in the rural, under-served areas. The public sector is expected to account for the majority of expenditure growth in the upcoming years due to the government’s Healthcare Reform Program target of achieving universal access to healthcare. The private sector's demand for sophisticated medical equipment is also growing.

Government pledges to improve healthcare have resulted in a recent boost in the purchase of medical devices, and similarly the proliferation of privately-owned hospitals and clinics has steeply raised the demand for high-tech medical equipment in the last 10 years. It is estimated that the market for medical devices will be worth USD 950 million by 2016, and this is almost wholly made up from imports, as Egypt produces very little medical equipment.

Main Competitors

The main competition comes from India for medical furniture and laboratory equipment. As for the high technology medical devises it comes from Europe (Germany) especially that Egypt has a free trade agreement with the European Union, which enables them to import goods with no tariff.

Current Demand

Best sales prospects in medical equipment and supplies include, but are not limited, to the following categories:

  • Diagnostic imaging equipment;
  • Oncology and radiology equipment;
  • Disposables;
  • Surgical and medical equipment;
  • ICU monitoring equipment;
  • Laboratory and scientific equipment; and
  • Mobile clinics.

Registration Process

Although the economic reformers have developed considerable momentum, red tape remains a business impediment in Egypt. Also, working directly with the government bureaucracy is time consuming and the tender announcement process is not transparent.

Barriers

The government of Egypt does not permit the registration of finished Vitamins and Dietary Supplements. It only permits the importation of raw material for local production of Vitamins and Dietary Supplements.

Trade Events

Mediconex; April 8-10, 2017 www.mediconex.net

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information

Name: Rania Mekhail

Position: Commercial Specialist

Email: Rania.Mekhail@trade.gov

Phone: +202-2797-3487


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