• Regional governments ramp up education and healthcare spending
  • Investors preferred specialised medical clinics rather than large general purpose hospitals

Private equity firms in the Middle East are increasingly targeting investments in the healthcare and education sectors.

With regional government spending in the two sectors rising, private equity companies see a lot of potential, according to panelists speaking at Global Islamic Investment Gateway conference being held in Bahrain.

“They are not just going for the generalised hospital but specialised clinics, long-term care, rehabilitation centres, this is where investors are very interested to move, this is where we are seeing the activity,” Henri Chaoul, chief investment officer at Alkhabeer Capital based in Saudi Arabia, told delegates.

North Africa is also appealing to investors. On 2 March, UAE-based Abraaj Capital, announced the creation of the North Africa Hospital Holdings Group, an investment platform to improve healthcare in Egypt and Tunisia.

Abraaj is working with other development financial institutions – the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the German development bank DEG and France’s Proparco.

Abraaj is the main investor on the platform with an investment of $145m.

The platform covers two Egyptian hospitals and two Tunisian hospitals and will help fund renovation of facilities, as well as staff training and new equipment among other areas.

Saudi Arabia’s 2015 budget has allocated $57.9bn on education while $42.7bn will be spent on health and social affairs. The Kingdom has committed to provide 24,000 beds at 117 new hospitals an a further 14,500 at medical cities across the country.

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