JLL report highlights opportunities in MENA healthcare sector

Report finds number of people over 65 in region will increase to 26 million by 2020

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Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL)’s ‘Healthy Returns’ report has found that the MENA region is lagging behind other developed economies with regards to per-capita spending on healthcare and the provision of hospital beds. The report notes that this shortfall will create opportunities for investors and other real estate players in the healthcare market across the MENA region over the next five years.

​​The report forecasts that the number of people over 65 in the MENA region will increase by 4.4% pa over the next five years, and will hit 26-million by 2020. In line with these figures, the report stated that an additional 10,500 hospital beds would be needed (approximately 70 hospitals) over the next five years, in cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo.

“With the current shortage of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities, an ageing population and the rise of medical tourism, there is a pressing need for additional healthcare facilities in the region over the coming years. To merely keep pace with the forecast population growth will require investment in around 70 new hospitals in the five major cities across the region,” said Craig Plumb, head of research, MENA – JLL.

The report found that per capita spending on healthcare in the UAE is only 17% of what is being spent in other countries, such as Switzerland. Additionally, an average of 1.9-beds per 1,000 people was found to be the norm in the MENA region, in contrast to an OECD average of 4.8-beds per 1,000.

Plumb added, “Given current and future constraints in government spending, it is widely recognised that the ambitious plans to improve healthcare provision in the region will depend upon attracting greater private sector investment.”

As per the report, governments in the MENA region have recognised the shortfall in healthcare provisions. The study further stated that – in order to achieve the same provision of hospital beds as available across OECD countries – the MENA region would need an additional 470,000 beds, equivalent to to 3,130 new hospitals by 2022.

“It is evident that the demand for hospitals and healthcare facilities is rapidly increasing in the region, driven by a combination of an ageing population and the growing attraction of the region for medical tourism,” said Mr. Plumb.

The JLL report says developers of large planned communities in the region have recognised the need for more healthcare provision, and are incorporating clinics and other non-specialist facilities in their developments.

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