In the past several months we have witnessed a substantial increase in requests for customized research and market analysis studies for the MENA (Middle East/Northern Africa) region. It appears that many life science firms with presence in BRIC and Asia Pacific regions are looking for the next emerging market to broaden their global offerings. While challenges with regulatory, socio-economic, religious and cultural issues pose unique challenges, the promise of the continued double digit growth of the region's $28 Billion pharmaceutical manufacturing industry shine a positive light on the potential.
As oil and political turmoil are seen as the most important factors affecting all of the countries of the region, the sustainability of MENA's economic growth has historically been brought into question. Within the last five years, changes, primarily in deregulation and privatization have spurred global pharmaceutical and device firms to take a closer look.
The MENA region as defined by the World Bank contains 19 countries and is home to 360 million people. In population and land area it is similar to the United States. The overall GDP in the region has grown more than 6% per year since 2004, about twice the growth rate of the U.S. GDP.