The UAE and Qatar have remained in the top three most attractive markets for infrastructure investors across the world, according to research by consultancy Arcadis.
The two countries have been ranked second and third respectively after Singapore in Arcadis’ third Global Infrastructure Investment Index, representing no change from 2014.
Arcadis said that despite low oil prices affecting investment into infrastructure, countries with secure business environments, stable financial sectors and strong growth are still in demand.
The firm also noted that short-term factors such as currency devaluations, commodity prices and security issues can be a barrier to investment.
Nations such as the UAE – which has traditionally funded infrastructure through the public sector – are opening up to private finance, which could bridge the funding gap for the development of much-needed new infrastructure, such as 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.”
Arcadis’ report revealed that Saudi Arabia has dropped three places to 15 due to a drop in the relative size of the market.
Daoud said: “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.