Transforming the skyline of Qatar

16 Aug 2014

Winning bids for the World Cup in 2022 and the World Athletic Championships in 2017 has given rise to a new ambitious project – to develop the infrastructure of Qatar such that it can rival any global city. For this the Qatar government has planned to spend up to USD 100 billion in infrastructure development projects panned out this 2022. This includes construction and improvements of roads, bridges, railways, ports, highways and other related services. According to a business council report, “Ashghal (the Public Works Authority) is one of Qatar’s key agencies supervising infrastructure development — including but not limited to roads, drainage, waste water treatment, and government building projects. Ashghal has been driving an unprecedented construction boom in the last few years to help Qatar achieve its National Vision of 2030, in which Qatar seeks to transform itself into a world-class sports, business, and tourist hub.” With the IMF estimating the growth rate of Qatar at 20% annually, the infrastructure development contributes significantly to this growth rate. There are several countries bidding for these projects and the leader among these is the United States of America. The increase in capital spending on these projects has elevated Qatar to the position of third largest infrastructure projects market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The mega projects include airport, ports and road developments and these have received much appreciation from the local populace and the international community. Infrastructure is one aspect of the development pie – urban redevelopment also takes up a large part of the investments in Qatar. Education projects, hospital facilities, entertainment zones and luxury housing projects are also underway. According to a news report, health and education have been identified as major sectors for development and constitute 72 of the nearly 200 projects. Roads, sewage and other basic infrastructure development projects have been given the third priority with 22 projects allocated for this purpose. About 20 projects have been earmarked towards economic diversification and aims to boost the private sector. There are 11 environment-related projects, while 10 are linked to social security schemes. Qatar wants to showcase its prowess in construction to the world and as a part of this most of the projects undertaken are with the aim to be viewed as the best in class in comparison to any large project in the Middle East and the world.

The current system of investment is through a Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) model for many of the mega infrastructure projects. Following the announcement of awarding the FIFA 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar, there has been a rush in direct investments worth several billion dollars to build football stadiums and other infrastructure facilities.

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