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Five minutes with Ashraf Al-Garf, CEO, Projacs

Projacs’ chief executive officer talks about the challenges that still need to be overcome in order to achieve effective project management implementation in the GCC

Projacs’ Ashraf al-Garf says that finding the right staff represents a challenge for GCC-based project management firms.
Projacs’ Ashraf al-Garf says that finding the right staff represents a challenge for GCC-based project management firms.

Have you witnessed increased awareness with regards project management in the GCC during recent years?

Definitely, yes. Project management has become a mandatory requirement in most of the governmental and major development projects in the GCC.

Projacs has witnessed increasing demand for project management over the course of the past decade. Having said that, we are still far from implementing project management to its full extent, compared to western countries.

What are the remaining challenges related to full project management implementation in this region?

Finding the right qualified staff represents a common challenge within the GCC’s project management segment.

Another challenge is to continuously cope with the new trends and the latest IT solutions in the industry; for example, the implementation of building information modelling (BIM). We need to remain up to date, so our staff need to be trained and educated to face the latest challenges.

Consequently, we have created the Projacs Academy. This acts as an arm for career development, both in house and for external clients.

What steps are you taking to educate the market about the benefits that can result from effective project management?

We continuously use our Projacs Academy to educate the market and promote project management across the region. Encouragingly, we have noticed that awareness about project management has considerably increased in the GCC.

What project management-related trends do you expect to witness in 2016?

Unfortunately, due to the current economical and geopolitical situation in the Middle East, we expect a slowdown in certain sectors, including the GCC’s governmental projects.

Having said that, we believe the participation of the private sector in the development of regional megaprojects will increase through public-private partnerships (PPP) and design-and-build (D&B) schemes. These segments represent opportunities for Projacs.

For which major regional projects is Projacs currently providing project management services?

Projacs has more than 100 active projects covering the GCC and North Africa. Notable projects include NBK headquarters and Central Bank of Kuwait in Kuwait, City Stars Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, Qatar Entertainment City, and Balqis Residence Palm Jumeirah in the UAE, to name a few.

How was business for Projacs in 2015? Has your company been affected by the regional slowdown?

On the contrary, 2015 was a very good year for Projacs. We were able to achieve, and even exceed, our expectations.

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