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Opinion

In the Middle East, fertility is the next big investment trend

As birth rates fall and the UAE government looks at ways to spur population growth, private equity firms see opportunities in IVF.

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Babies are set to become big business in the UAE as the government looks at ways to tackle the low birth rate among Emiratis. This presents new investment opportunities in long-term demographic changes, which should not be ignored by investors.  

A renewed focus on fertility is not just applicable to the UAE. In broader emerging markets, a new study links fertility to savings rates and economic growth, and explains why the risk of debt distress is higher in countries with higher birth rates.

As investors focus on long-term factors such as sustainability and climate change, fertility – and its impact on the economy – should not be ignored.

Birth rates among Emiratis have dropped rapidly over the last half century, from 6.9 births per mother in the 1960s to 1.4 in 2017, according to data from the World Bank. The average for the region is 2.8.

In a bid to stimulate population growth, the UAE is offering to pay for three rounds of in-vitro fertilization treatment a year for Emirati women.

As a result, the fertility sector is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15% a year, an opportunity spotted by private equity firms across the Gulf.




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