UAE leads GCC with USD1.38trn projects; awaits Expo 2020 win


By Sona Nambiar

Around USD 3.45 trillion worth of projects are in the design, bid or construction stage until 2025 in the GCC, according to Zawya project tracking data compiled in November 2013.

Should Dubai win the bid for Expo 2020 on November 27, the UAE market will see a flurry of big ticket projects, said industry experts polled by Zawya, who foresee double-digit growth within the emirate in 2014. 

To date, UAE still retains pole position in the GCC with USD 1.38 trillion worth of ongoing projects, followed by Saudi Arabia (USD 1.02 trillion), Qatar (USD 420.12 billion), Kuwait (USD 326.55 billion), Oman (USD 189.90 billion) and Bahrain (USD 104.74 billion).

Likely to Win
“The chances of Dubai getting the Expo 2020 bid are very strong,” said Bishoy Azmy, chief executive of Al Shafar General Contracting, a UAE-headquartered regional construction firm. “Dubai is well back on the road to recovery and the market is very bullish. We expect to hear a lot of positive construction announcements around the new airport and the new Dubai World Trade Centre,” he said.

The UAE followed by Saudi Arabia will lead the growth in the GCC construction sector in 2014, Azmy added. “The UAE will see very close to double-digit growth (between 8% and 10%) while Saudi will see between 6% and 8% in the coming year,” he forecasts.

Another leading regional industry player from Abu Dhabi (who did not wish to be named) agreed that Dubai stood a very high likelihood to win the bid. “Everybody is waiting for the announcement, which will lead to many hotel projects becoming more viable while residential projects around the new airport will see lot of growth.”

It will also lead to a shift in the construction activity within the UAE, said Phillipe Dessoy, general manager at Six Construct, a regional construction player.

“We see a high chance of Dubai picking up the Expo 2020 bid. Following which, we will see a rise in construction activity at the new international airport in Jebel Ali, new work from the metro to the new airport, as well as access roads and highways that will be followed by projects in the surrounding areas,” Dessoy said. More info