Parents and patients will benefit from the new GCC common market, say major players in the education and healthcare sectors.
Further investment is planned and improved services are expected to become available as competition increases both locally and regionally. The open market, which came into effect on January 1, offers an environment that encourages the free flow of capital and increased productivity, say business leaders.
“The common market will lend momentum to our initiatives in the region,” said Boon Yew Ng, CEO of Emaar Education
“The market is a strong regional initiative that will create a robust socio-economic environment for growth. By joining hands on several key fronts the GCC will create opportunities that will benefit not only the entrepreneurial community but also the common people.”
Emaar Education, a wholly owned subsidiary of Emaar Properties, aims to expand in the Middle East and North Africa region, the Subcontinent and South Asia. It already has a significant presence in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
“We are evaluating opportunities for setting up premier educational institutions in key emerging markets in the region,” added Yew Ng.
Sunny Varkey, CEO of Dubai-based education and healthcare provider Varkey Group, said the open market will provide easier access to potential business opportunities across the region.
“Any development that brings the countries of the GCC together is good for business and society as a whole as it supports the rapid development of the region,” he said. “This model has been very successful in Europe and similar economic benefits are likely to happen in the GCC.”
Restrictions on investment remained in certain countries but any development that opened up the market to an easier flow of business is beneficial, he said.
Dr BR Shetty, Managing Director and CEO of NMC Group, said the common market will create major opportunities for investment.
“We welcome the launch of the common market, it is a very good initiative.”
Dr Azad Moopen, Chairman of Dubai-based healthcare service provider Dr Moopen’s Group, said: “We have a long-term plan. We are confident that we will be able to play a significant role in the healthcare scenario of the region.”
Increased competition arising from the open market was welcomed by the established companies.
Varkey said the increased investment and the emergence of more companies is good news for the UAE as it continues to develop as a leading business and tourist destination.
“Infrastructure is always an issue when rapid growth occurs but the UAE has proved it can keep pace with the influx of people and provide quality life,” he added.
Yew Ng of Emaar Education said: “In today’s era of global collaboration every sector is becoming increasingly competitive, which ultimately benefits the people.
“The GCC common market will encourage more educational providers to explore growth opportunities and give more options and choices to the public. Eventually it is the quality of the service and expertise provided that will be the driving factor for any enterprise.”
Open market to benefit consumers