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Arab Health as a business platform for Swedish life science innovators

During the annual Arab Health exhibition, private Swedish B2B consultant Global Pharma Consulting hosted The Innovation Pavilion by Sweden. Paula Hassoon, CEO at Global Pharma, gives us an update from the exhibition as well as her thoughts of the arabic healthcare market and the opportunities for Swedish health companies to do business. 

The scope of exhibitors and global interest in last week’s Arab Health exhibition in Dubai leave no doubt that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are recognised pioneers in healthcare. With 60 percent growth (to $28 billion) forecast for the UAE healthcare market in the next five years, this rapidly evolving sector presents key opportunities for Swedish life science innovators to contribute to the infrastructure and goal of health for all.

We just hosted a Swedish country pavilion at Arab Health for the second consecutive year. This year, The Innovation Pavilion by Sweden was the largest Swedish pavilion at Arab Health, drawing 21 participants and a number of VIPs including delegations from Sweden’s and the UAE’s Ministries of Health, Swedish Ambassadors from the UAE and Qatar, the UAE Genetic Disease Association, the Swecare Foundation and Sweden’s former Minister of Trade. 

The official Swedish pavilion arranged by Business Sweden hosted 11 Swedish companies in their pavilion, and with another ten companies exhibiting in own stands as Getinge, Elekta and others, it was a record year for Sweden at Arab health with 42 companies present, half of those found in The Innovation Pavilion by Sweden.

Arab Health is a remarkable business platform but it is enormous and can be overwhelming for single organisations. Our pavilion’s objective is to make it easy to find and do business with Swedish life science companies in one place, and to offer those participants a number of exclusive networking events and opportunities to interact with our VIPs and other local contacts. Additional seminars were held on the internationalization of Swedish life science, current business opportunities in Qatar, how to approach Med-tech registration in KSA, and UAE / GCC registration policies.

This year The Innovation Pavilion by Sweden featured a wide variety of Swedish life science services and solutions, including infection prevention, pharmaceutical development, immunoassay kits, body temperature management, skin care, robotics, quality registries, EKN and SIS.

Each participant was hand-picked to ensure relevancy to the region’s goals and the pavilion’s theme of innovation. In our opinion, innovation extends to an operational mindset as well. Being able to adapt to and collaborate within foreign business cultures is often the first step.

In this region we’re talking about a digitally savvy population with a high level of engagement in managing their health. For example, 45 percent of GCC residents now find wearables an effective way to track their health. Sweden has established itself as a forerunner in e-health development so there is a lot of synergy to be explored around digitization and connected health. Lifestyle diseases are another area in which Sweden can share expertise, given the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in GCC countries.

Aside from the official inauguration with a number of VIPs from Sweden, UAE and Qatar, we were honored by visits from the UAE’s Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health; the DHA (Dubai Health Authority); and HAAD (Abu Dhabi Health Authority). The time allocated to us by these senior officials demonstrates just how positively they view The Innovation Pavilion by Sweden’s role at Arab Health as well as the UAE’s readiness to align with Swedish life science experts.

Paula Hassoon, CEO, Global Pharma Consulting
Paula Hassoon
CEO, Global Pharma Consulting