Tunisia’s healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries are amongst the smallest in the MENA region, but these sectors have shown considerable growth and development in the last decade and continue to provide lucrative investment opportunities. Tunisia’s health care system has been the focus of continued public investment that has seen an extensive network of public hospitals and health centres established nationwide. In recent years, however, the country’s private healthcare sector has taken the lead in investment, with the construction of new clinics intended to make the country into a regional medical centre. In November 2017 a loan agreement was signed with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to finance the development of four new public hospitals in Tunisia and to study the development of a cancer centre in Tunis. These projects are slated for completion by 2021.
Although development in the healthcare industry in the Middle East and North Africa lags significantly behind the world average, spending in the region is high, amounting to about US$ 66 bn annually. With rising incomes and literacy levels, this figure is predicted to grow considerably, as the Arab world strives for a higher quality of care and governments work hard to meet the demands of rapidly growing populations, particularly in the face of socio-political discontent sweeping the region. It is estimated that healthcare spending in the region will reach US$ 175 bn by 2020. Overall, MENA governments account for around 64% of healthcare spending, indicating a large public spending burden, however, despite centralised control over the sector, most countries in the region suffer from infrastructure, cost and delivery problems which need to be addressed going forward.