Infrastructure projects across the GCC rise to $86 billion this year with Saudi Arabia and Qatar dominating the share.
The figures by construction intelligence firm Ventures Onsite indicate that developments this year will represent a rise of nearly 78 per cent on 2013, with each GCC state showing an increase, except Saudi Arabia.
Despite the decline from $33 billion to $29 billion since 2013, the kingdom’s commitment to expanding its road and rail networks is still the largest across the GCC. In fact, considering last year’s figures were dominated by the construction of the $22.5 billion Riyadh Metro, the emphasis on further modernising the country’s infrastructure has been significantly broader this year.
In accelerated preparation to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar commits to drastically develop its infrastructure and it is, therefore, little surprise that it is closely behind Saudi Arabia by awarding $26.2 billion this year. It represents a significant increase on last year’s $9 billion, thus also suggesting that ambitions to diversify its predominantly energy-driven economy are in full swing.
The UAE, too, has drastically expanded its infrastructure projects by committing over $15 billion in 2014, a figure that is five-fold on the previous year. Similarly, the $3.5 billion awarded by Kuwait is 10 times higher than it was in 2013.
A vital contributor to this sharp rise in infrastructure projects is that the UAE, Saudi and Qatar have begun to focus on developing rail networks. Most notably, the UAE’s efforts to construct Etihad Rail, a network connecting the emirates, will go into its second stage, which will include extending the railway to the Saudi and Omani borders.
The Ventures Onsite report also indicates that today, infrastructure makes up 16 per cent of all GCC construction projects.