Egypt hopes to help world meet need for medical equipment
CAIRO: The medical equipment production industry is in the throes of major growth if recent economic indicators are anything to go by.
According to Dr. Sherif Ezzat, president of the non-pharmaceutical medical industry division at the Chamber of Engineering Industries, part of the Egyptian Federation of Industries, the number of companies in the industry has increased, going from 80 companies last year to 105 companies as of the present. Furthermore, that number is expected to register a high, reaching 120 companies by the end of 2006.
Investments in the industry are also expected to witness a sharp rise; going from the LE 2 million registered at the end of 2005 to approximately LE 2.5 million at the end of 2006. The LE 500 million increases in one year is in fact evidence of the rapid growth the industry is currently undergoing, states Ezzat.
Exports in the industry are also expected to flourish as the need for medical equipment in the global market increases. According to Ezzat, exportation of medical equipment is expected to go from the $60 million marked at the end of 2005, to $80 million (LE 459 million) this year. Furthermore, equipment will be exported to around 40 countries in different parts of the world, he says.
One of the most significant causes for the growth in exportation can be directly attributed to the efforts undertaken by the Ministry of Trade and Industries in the creation of the Center of Modernizing Industry.
According to Ezzat, the center supports industries in developing and growing so as to compete in the global market by enhancing their efficiency and advertising capabilities on an international scale, and played a vital role in encouraging and forging partnerships between local companies and their foreign counterparts in the production of the medical equipment industry.
The center has been working diligently for a long time in increasing global awareness of the state-of-the-art medical equipment being produced in Egypt, playing up the international need for such a commodity. Through their efforts, they have won the confidence of the global market, leading to wide-scale acceptance and orders for such products from Egyptian producers, explains Ezzat.
“The government and the center have undertaken several commendable objectives in order to develop the industry, Ezzat was quoted as saying in Al-Ahram newspaper. “First there was the continuation of encouraging investments in trade, which led to the growth of several industries including the medical equipment sector. Secondly, there was the center s primary focus on the medical equipment industry, which, through their efforts, has evolved and grown greatly, he added.
In order to lend the local industry the credibility needed for exportation to foreign markets, the center is assisting local producers to obtain certification – something that has become a central requirement. As a result, more companies are lining up to obtain certificates in order to export their products, which, states Ezzat, has led to an increase in the number of companies in the industry with certification. At the end of 2005, only five companies were certified, but at the end of this current year, 30 companies will have become certified to export. That number is expected to rise further, possibly reaching 50 certified companies by the end of 2007.
Due to the increase in certified suppliers, (which in turn is expected to increase exports) exports will rise to at least $200 million (LE 1.1 billion) by 2009, if not more, stated Ezzat.
According to Ezzat, this industry, in terms of the growing value of its commodity, has become one of the most important priorities on the Ministry of Trade and Industries and the Ministry of Health’s agenda.
In fact, Minister of Health Hatem El-Gabaly has approved an initial suggestion put forth by the medical industry division at the Chamber of Engineering Industries, going so far as to sign a protocol of cooperation between the ministry and the division to further develop and assist the industry to achieve greater growth and bigger export numbers in the future, stated Ezzat.