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Qatar, UAE make top 5 markets for infra investment

$300bn bound for QA, UAE, KSA by 2017, but requires tailored approach

Alistair Kirk, head of infrastructure, EC Harris
Alistair Kirk, head of infrastructure, EC Harris

Alistair Kirk, head of infrastructure at EC Harris, has highlighted the presence of Qatar and the UAE within the top five countries for infrastructure investment in a global survey by the firm.

“You’ll see the GCC countries have scored particularly favourably,” Kirk told the audience at CW's UAE infrastructure 2013 conference, revealing Qatar just off the top spot in second, the UAE in fourth, and Saudi Arabia just shy of the top 10 in 11th place.

Detailing the methodology, he noted: “The high-ranked countries are characterised by an environment that is deemed low risk due to factors that include high income per capita, political stability, low taxation and strong government support for large scale investments.”

To compile the index, EC Harris analysed a total of 40 countries based on existing infrastructure, economic environment, ease of business, macro-economic risk and local finance.

Kirk noted that investment in the three markets from 2012 through to 2017 was predicted to reach $300bn, while estimated growth in project values for the countries tallied at 9% for Qatar, 6% for the UAE and 10% for KSA.

Though the GCC presents a low risk, Kirk explained that infrastructure investment still needs a tailored approach that “reflects the economic environment, best responds to the individual market, and takes advantage of the competitive edge that exists”.

Focusing on the UAE, the presentation showed that the UAE construction market alone is valued at $67bn and is expected to grow at 6% per annum, split across transportation infrastructure with 47% of projects, power and water at 20%, and petroleum and petrochemicals at 17%.

The largest project additions set to come to fruiting soon include Nakheel’s $9bn Jumeirah Village, the $11bn Eithad Railway, the $7bn expansion of Abu Dhabi's airport and ENEC’s $36bn nuclear power programme.

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