This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Overview
The healthcare sector in Egypt is large compared to its Middle East counterparts.   Egypt offers a variety of investment opportunities, as the Egyptian government is very keen on expanding the healthcare industry, especially relating to medical devices, and plans to improve the sector by introducing a new National Health Insurance program. In June 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched 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 new project aims to improve services at 600 primary healthcare facilities and 27 hospitals, support Egypt’s family planning efforts, scale up the community health workers program, screen 1 million units of blood annually, and expand the screening of Hepatitis C for around 35 million people and the treatment of an estimated 1.5 million patients.

The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 16 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. 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 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 that are not offered by El Gomhoureya.

Formerly the Egyptian healthcare system was predominantly controlled by the government. In the past decade the private sector has taken a more active role as the standard of care in the public sector has declined. Though disposable income in general is low in Egypt, making unavoidable healthcare spending a serious expense for a majority of Egypt’s citizens (estimated per capita GDP was USD 2,573 in 2018). the majority of Egyptian patients prefer to use private healthcare facilities.

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

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. Although there have been some improvements in the registration process, red tape remains a business impediment in Egypt. Also, working directly with the government bureaucracy is time consuming and the tender process is not transparent.
 
Leading Sub-Sectors
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
  • Mobile clinics

Opportunities
The Egyptian government prefers investing in preventative medicine, which offers opportunity in medical devices. According to the World Bank, less than 5 percent of total investments are allocated toward health services. Considering the strong demand and fewer barriers to the market, the medical device sector is ripe for substantial growth in the midterm.
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 for U.S. firms that can offer the following services:
  • Construction, management, and rehabilitation of hospitals and rural healthcare facilities
  • Emergency care (ambulatory) services
  • Training programs for nurses and physicians
  • Establishment of biological and laboratory centers
  • Development of quality standards for hospitals, laboratories, and healthcare institutions
  • Capacity building and consultancy services for regulator and accreditation bodies
  • Training programs to include FDA-drug classification for government officials.

Web Resources
Contact for the Commercial Specialist in charge of the Healthcare Sector: Rania Mekhail, Rania.Mekhail@trade.gov
 

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Egypt Healthcare Trade Development and Promotion