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Massive infrastructure projects bring challenges for Gulf region

In the wake of the Arab Spring, governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have committed to massive infrastructure spending schemes designed to head off future discontent. In the GCC alone, total infrastructure spending over the next decade has been estimated at more than $1trn, and these projects will encompass everything from energy to transport, healthcare to education, transforming the region beyond recognition.

Iraq seeks bidders on $450M Kerbala rail project

Iraq has invited foreign companies to compete for a $450 million monorail project in the southern holy city of Kerbala, which hosts millions of Shi'ite pilgrims each year. Iraqi officials have ambitious plans for rail lines, including one for a multibillion-dollar Baghdad metro. None has yet been built as the government struggles to provide basics like electricity and water.

Alstom signs agreement for Baghdad Elevated Train project

An Alstom spokesman said that "Alstom is willing to contribute to the reconstruction program in Iraq, in particular within the public transport area. Thus, Alstom has signed an agreement that opens a period of discussions with Baghdad local government, with the objective of signing a contract for the Baghdad Elevated Train." The project involves building a line that runs for 25 kilometers on a viaduct, which is aimed to reduce congestion in the city. It will link the areas of Al Mustansiriya and Alawi al Hilla in central Baghdad.

Baghdad metro plans derailed

If Baghdad’s metro is to move ahead, two things have to happen. First, a stable government will have to take the reins of power in Baghdad. Second, Iraq will have to develop a coherent framework to attract financiers and construction companies and give them the level of comfort they need before they participate in the scheme.