Welcome to the Power 100 - Arabian Business’s annual listing of the world’s most influential Arabs. For the sixth consecutive year, we are publishing once again the definitive list of the Arab men and women shaping the world.
Ministry of Health - Saudi Arabia
Minister of hHealth
A former surgeon who first shot to fame after his intricate operations on conjoined twins, Dr Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabiah now holds the health of some 27 million people in his hands. Minister of Health to the Gulf’s largest economy, Saudi Arabia, he oversees a $16.3bn budget and a population that boasts one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world.
Saudi’s healthcare system has undergone a radical shake-up in recent years. It was one of the first Gulf states to launch compulsory insurance for expats working in the Kingdom; a move that the state hopes will lure in private sector providers, and shave millions of dollars off its healthcare spend. To date, the impact has been muted. The 2010 healthcare budget received a 51 percent boost; a hike aimed at increasing the number of hospitals, clinics and staff in the sector. A reported 92 hospitals are slated to be built in the next ten years, part of the state’s goal to provide primary healthcare to every family in the country.
Still, despite being in its nascent stages, Saudi has the potential to become the largest, most commercially-attractive healthcare market in the Middle East. As the man holding the reins, Al Rabiah is powerful indeed.