Amid a spurt in the value of cancelled and delayed projects to $1.75 trillion, just over $82 billion worth of new projects have been awarded across the Middle East and North Africa in the first 10 months of this year, up from $80 billion in the same 2010 period, a Citibank report said.
Saudi Arabia has been the main driving force accounting for over $28 billion or a third of the 2011 total. Iraq has awarded almost $17 billion of projects — an increase of $10 billion on 2010 and accounts for 20 per cent of the total while the UAE has awarded almost $14 billion in the year to the end October, almost $20 billion below 2010. Kuwait has awarded $4 billion of projects, down 56 per cent versus 2010, Citi Investment Research & Analysis, or Cira, report said.
“At $8 billion, Qatar is broadly flat on 2010 as its market has peaked with the growth predicted to slow,” it said. In October this year, $16.9 billion of projects were awarded across the Mena region.
However, despite a general downturn across the globe, total projects planned and underway in the GCC remained stable at $1.8 trillion, underpinned by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In the Gulf as a whole, including Iran and Iraq, the value of total projects planned and underway stands at $2.5 trillion, supported by Iraq at $355 billion worth of projects. “Iran is also a significant market at $313 billion. However, UN sanctions remain the country’s key challenge and barrier to entry for contractors,” the report said.