UAE, Qatar attract infrastructure investors

UAE, Qatar attract infrastructure investors
The UAE which has traditionally funded infrastructure through the public sector, is opening up to private finance.

Dubai - Infrastructure is an increasingly popular asset class for private sector investors, says Arcadis

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By Staff Report

Published: Tue 3 May 2016, 6:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 3 May 2016, 8:05 PM

The UAE and Qatar remained the top most attractive markets for infrastructure investors globally, design and consultancy firm Arcadis said on Tuesday.

It said despite low oil prices affecting investment into infrastructure, nations with secure business environments, stable financial sectors and strong growth potential are still in demand.

Despite infrastructure being a long-term investment, Arcadis' third Global Infrastructure Investment Index highlighted that short-term factors such as currency devaluations, commodity prices and security issues can be a barrier to investment. Given these issues, nations such as the UAE which has traditionally funded infrastructure through the public sector is opening up to private finance, which could bridge the funding gap for the development of much-needed new infrastructure, including the extension of Dubai's Metro line.

Sameer Daoud, Middle East leader - infrastructure at Arcadis, said: "Priorities for Qatar include new systems for transportation and improving the country's connectivity. A new port has been developed, in part, to support the import of materials needed to deliver ambitious spending plans that satisfy both the 2030 National Vision and the more immediate 2022 Fifa World Cup Qatar. Opportunities are more likely to be in the operation and maintenance of existing assets as the government continues to ensure that its infrastructure remains of a high standard."

Ben Khan, Middle East client development director at Arcadis, said: "Infrastructure is an increasingly popular asset class for private sector investors, particularly in times of increased risk and uncertainty. While opportunities have been limited in the region due to falling export revenues, as we see more GCC countries opening up to private finance, this can create opportunities for investors in the short to medium term."

The report findings revealed that Saudi Arabia has dropped three places to 15 due to a decline in the relative size and dynamism of the market and the impact of relatively low infrastructure scores.

Daoud added: "Although we see a fall in Saudi Arabia's ranking this year, there is much greater growth potential for the country in the future as the government recently announced its Vision 2030 reform plan, which reassesses its economic and social policies in a way that is designed to free the country from dependence on oil exports."

The Global Infrastructure Investment Index is published every two years and ranks 41 countries by their attractiveness to investors in infrastructure. In order to gauge their appeal, the study looked at various issues, including the ease of doing business in each market, tax rates, GDP per capita, government policy, the quality of existing infrastructure and the availability of debt finance.


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