PPPs in health care sector can reach SR50 billion in 3-5 years: Analyst

Updated 05 March 2016

PPPs in health care sector can reach SR50 billion in 3-5 years: Analyst

JEDDAH: The private sector only provides 15 percent of health care in Saudi Arabia. If the government can double this figure to 30 percent or 35 percent, this would represent investment opportunities equivalent to SR50 billion in a period of 3-5 years, according to a health care panelist at the Jeddah Economic Forum.
Speaking to Arab News, Gabriel Chahine, head of health care practice and partner at Strategy&, said: “I think the Kingdom is in strong need to privatize its health sector because the cost of the health care system is increasing and it will continue to increase because of disease burden and medical inflation. It will reach a stage where it will become unsustainable to fund the health care system and that is why the private sector participation will be very important to curb the costs of the government.”
Commenting on how the private sector will contribute to the Saudi economy, he added: “This will play a major role on the overall economy because first, it will attract new private players in the Kingdom and second in will create many employment opportunities for the government. It will also help recruit and retain new talents within the health care space.”
“By privatizing the health care sector, it would have a positive impact on the Kingdom’s health care quality because one of the major prerequisites to involve the private sector is to increase the quality of care, bringing in the best practices and the expertise from the private sector, inject it in the local economy and make sure that is reflected in the patient outcome,” said Chahine, who moderated the panel discussion.
“In case of privatizing the health care sector, I believe the foreign care providers are going to play an important role as contributors in order to share the best practices on how to remodel the delivery of care,” said Chahine.
“So I think there is an interesting space and a very good opportunity for foreign providers. The key question would be how to give them assurance and confidence to enter the market, especially a market that they are unfamiliar with. So it is important to give them assurance on the overall business environment in order for it to be successful.”
Arab News, meanwhile, spoke to several JEF participants who were happy to voice their comments about the forum.
“I am always thrilled to attend the JEF as it is an amazing forum to understand the changes in the economy of the Kingdom,” said Marie Laure Boulot, manager of Enrichment Programs Academic Affairs at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). “The economy of education and knowledge in the Kingdom is changing very quickly and to meet and network with the high level speakers is very important to me.”
Commenting on the JEF theme Public Private Partnerships (PPP), she said the Kingdom needs to start implementing PPPs in most of the sectors to keep up with the other countries. Neveen Bader, branch manager assistant at Arab National Bank, said “Jeddah Economic forum is an important event that is running every year which gives us the whole picture about the kingdom’s economy.”
Bader said that her main interest at this year’s discussion was Finance.
”I was interested to attend JEF2016 to benefit from the financial session that was held on the last day of the forum. Overall, the session clarified the importance of PPPs in the financial sector, and the potentials of Islamic finance of the infrastructure development.”
She added: “I believe that Saudi Arabia will be a great competitor to other countries and may be one of the largest developed countries.”
Ziena Sulieman of INSEAD— JEF 2016’s Knowledge Partner said: “As Saudi Arabia moves toward a greater reliance on PPP, it is important to deepen the understanding on how this partnerships supports the process and plans. Over two days, participants explored opportunities and exchanged knowledge to build the local capabilities that will facilitate the required transformations of the public and private sectors.”

Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

Updated 19 November 2019

Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

  • Amirah Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students

DUBAI: Saudi women aiming to emulate Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s feat, the Kingdom’s first female commercial pilot, now have that opportunity as Oxford Aviation Academy has opened its doors for them to take flying lessons and earn their licenses.

One those women raring to earn her pilot wings is 19-year-old Amirah Al-Saif, who enrolled in the aviation academy to fulfill her dream of flying for the Kingdom’s national carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia).

“They have been very supportive of us females,” Al-Saif, who hails from Riyadh, told Arab News at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, when asked about her experience at the academy.

Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students, with six of them already in ground school, expected to receive their licenses by the start of 2021 after a grueling course that requires them to first learn English, Mathematics, Physics and other basic knowledge subjects.

She is also the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry.

Student pilot Amirah Al-Saif, right, who hails from Riyadh, is the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry. (Supplied)

Those who pass the foundation program can then move on to ground school for practical lessons and ideally graduate in two years with three licenses: the Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot License.

Al-Saif considers herself lucky since she was not constrained take courses abroad for her pilot training, unlike Al-Maimani who had to leave the Kingdom to receive her license, as well as wait for a long time before being eventually hired by Nesma Airlines.

The flying school is located at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and is an authorized branch of Oxford Aviation Academy based in the UK.

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