State's public sector spend boosts predication that Middle East health sector will increase by 20%

Saudi Arabia has a budget of $5bn (£3.1bn) for healthcare projects according to figures released by Proleads, a Dubai-based research firm. The Middle Eastern health sector as a whole, meanwhile, is set to grow by 20%, the organisers of this month’s Arab Health Exhibition and Congress have said.

Public sector funding in Saudi is currently five times higher than private investment, with healthcare spending in the Arabian Gulf countries expected to continue growing faster than the global average.

Simon Page, an organiser of the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress, said: “In spite of significant project delays in other non-infrastructure sectors, the pipeline of healthcare projects in the region remains remarkably robust, particularly for Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

A report into healthcare in the Gulf by investment bank Alpen Capital said: “Growth in income levels as well as an increase in health insurance coverage will boost demand for health care services. Moreover, per capita health care requirements and spending will also increase as the GCC population ages and the disease mix changes."

The Arab Health Exhibition and Congress will be at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 25-28 January 2010.