The first Law Update of 2024 is here, and our first focus of the year spotlights Healthcare and Lifesciences, a sector that is undergoing significant growth and development across the MENA region.
Our focus provides an insight into some of the most important regulatory updates across the region, such as the UAE’s groundbreaking law on the use of human genome, Kuwait’s resolution on nuclear and radioactive materials, the new regulations for healthcare services in Qatar, Egypt’s healthcare regulatory framework, and the impact of the Saudi Civil Transactions Law on the healthcare and life sciences sector … and there is so much more!
Beyond the healthcare pages our lawyers share with you multi-sector insights where you will discover articles on Dubai’s DIFC regulatory framework for startups, Bahrain’s commercial agencies law, and we also shed light on Kuwaiti civil code and the advantages of setting up a joint stock company in Saudi Arabia.Read the full edition
Francis Patalong - Senior Counsel - Corporate / Mergers and Acquisitions / Commercial / Mediation / Sustainability focused Corporate Governance / Sustainable Finance / Sustainable Business / Sustainable Sourcing / Climate Change & Energy Transition
In this article we check in to see where things currently stand in the Kingdom.
FDI in Education
Foreign direct investment in education in the Kingdom was traditionally very limited. However one of the stated goals of the Vision is for increasing private sector participation in the sector. What form this private sector participation may take is critical, especially in the context of the updated Companies Law which has broadened the potential for foreign ownership in Saudi companies but which does not specifically address the education sector.
The SAGIA website states (our underlining):
The historical growth rate of 10% in the Education sector is expected to be sustained going forward, driven by significant investments by the Saudi Government. For example, USD 56 billion has been allocated to projects in the Education sector for the 2014/15 budget, in addition to USD 21 billion approved five-year plan driven by the Tatweer education development company.
There are several broad opportunity areas for the private sector to explore in the education ecosystem, including: setting up privately operated colleges and universities; establishing pre-school institutions and day-care offerings; enhancing labor market linkages and job placement programs to match graduates to jobs; creating and delivering blended learning innovations. In addition, there is an opportunity for private sector provision of support services to existing public and private education institutions. Examples include: site maintenance, canteen operations, cleaning services, IT infrastructure and management services.
Whilst there are no current opportunities listed on the relevant section of the SAGIA website we expect this to change given it is still comparatively early days in the programme. What will be of particular interest is whether and to what extent FDI is encouraged in this context. Furthermore the same approach may not necessarily apply to schools as to other sections of the education market; it was previously suggested that FDI in schools is unlikely in the short term.
The Vision also indicates that some form of Public Private Partnership structure is contemplated in a number of areas and, although it doesn’t specifically mention education, one would expect that this would be closely looked at given it is capital intensive.
The scope for private sector involvement in the education sector in the Kingdom is massive given the demographics and sheer size of the potential market there. However it is still early days in the reform process with many of the specifics remaining unclear. Al Tamimi continues to closely monitor events at the various ministries to ensure that our clients are in the most up to date position and we will publish an update to this note when
Francis is an integral member of Al Tamimi & Company’s Education team where he supports education providers in the Kingdom on all legal aspects of their operations. For further information please contact Francis (email@example.com).