LBBC Libya health sector webinar advises short term and long term means to access Libyan market
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 19 May 2020:
A webinar held by the Libya British Business Council (LBBC) yesterday on Libya’s health sector aimed at better understanding export opportunities for UK health products and services and help UK companies access the Libyan market.
The webinar replaced the two-day conference that had been planned in London originally for 24-25 March. It was postponed to 8-9 June due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The webinar was informed by a market feasibility study funded by the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and confirmed that the Libyan health sector is a good target for UK companies.
In the short term, it advised UK companies to seek remote market access to Libya in the current security crisis until ”Libya opens up’’, but seek to move away from transactional deals and establish a good partner in Libya in the long term to fully exploit commercial opportunities. A good local partner helps mitigate some of the costs and risks associated with travelling to Libya in the short term.
On the recurrent problem with payment from Libya, it advised gaining some kind of payment security prior to progressing with deals.
The report said the UK’s top exports to Libya in 2019 were pharma/health products making up about 22 percent of total exports. It said Libya spends about 6 percent of its GDP on healthcare, 37 percent of out of pocket spending and US$ 313 per capita on healthcare.
It added that health provisions in Libya were sporadic, and healthcare was not well regulated with facilities falling below WHO/western standards. This is evidenced by the recent WHO warning that healthcare in Libya was at risk everywhere.
It also reported that the sector suffered from fragmented governance, limited finances and human resource, low certification and shortages in medicines and equipment.
On the positive side, the report said Libya has the potential finances thanks to its oil reserves. Its young educated population and the suppressed demand and need for improvement, built up over the decades, means latent demand is there to be supplied by UK companies. Destroyed infrastructure will need to be reactivated as demand increases and higher standards are demanded.
The webinar (and planned conference) follows on from a healthcare workshop held in Tunis on 19 November 2019 as part of the programme of an LBBC Business Delegation. The report of the workshop and the list of participants records that Libyan public and private sector attendees registered their keen interest in doing business with UK suppliers of medicines, equipment and services, the LBBC revealed.
The LBBC reported that the Libyan market appetite for healthcare products is high and is currently served by a range of European and regional suppliers, and although Libyan consumers place a premium on UK products, they reportedly complain that these products are scarce, if not absent from the market.
The report for the webinar was organized by the LBBC, the UK International Healthcare Management Association (UKIHMA) and the UK Department for International Trade (DIT).