Infrastructure development projects worth over $350 billion are planned across the GCC countries in 2013, of which Qatar will account for projects valued at $45 billion, Doha Bank Group CEO Dr. R Seetharaman said while highlighting the trends impacting infrastructure development.
Seetharaman was speaking at the Real Estate, Infrastructure & Urban Development summit organized by Doha Bank recently.
"The country is expected to grow by more than 5% in 2013. According to Qatar's National Development Strategy, aggregate GDP growth in the 2012-2016 period is expected to average 6.9%, of which hydrocarbon growth is expected to be 4.4% and non-hydrocarbon growth 9.1%," he said.
"Qatar's economic diversification will result in sustainable growth in real estate and infrastructure. Qatar's budget for 2013-2014 has also increased allocation for infrastructure with the maximum increase in spending on public projects," said Seetharaman, who chaired the event.
The summit, focusing on opportunities and trends in Qatar's real estate, construction and infrastructure development, was attended by leading local and GCC consultants and advisory firms.
Meanwhile, the president's executive office of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) announced that more than $30bn would be allocated for the implementation of over 700 projects to meet the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030.
According to presenter Vinod Kambrath, senior strategic specialist at Ashghal, the projects will provide infrastructure development across the nation in the form of advanced road setups, sewerage projects, government and public buildings and city beautification.
"The investment program includes over $30bn in public infrastructure and buildings representing more than 700 individual projects to be implemented over the next 5-7 years. These will meet the objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030 and support the country's base public infrastructure, which will be capable of hosting Qatar 2022 and meeting the needs of growth beyond the Fifa World Cup," he said.
"Around 32 projects involve hundreds of cumulative kilometers of carriageways being upgraded to up to five lanes. Qatar's expressway program alone will cover thousands of kilometers, equivalent to building a straight road from Doha to Paris, France, which is more than 5,000km away. The Inner Doha Re-Sewerage project being undertaken by Ashghal is another major example of Qatar's commitment. The project will cover over 30km of a main sewage trunk and more than 70km of interceptor tunnels."
Kambrath said Ashghal has developed a world-class outsourcing model that will help delegate various tasks pertaining to the infrastructure projects to other agencies and organizations. The sheer size and scale of these projects, he added, threw up several opportunities within the sector in terms of professional consultancy services, contracting, technology systems and equipment, as well as the supply of goods and materials "to meet these immense project requirements".
Kambrath, however, refused to give a timeline for execution of the projects, saying a "big bang approach" was out of the question, adding that "just as important as the construction are pre-implementation planning and post-construction sustainability to ensure the project's life span".
Other participants of the summit included representatives of The Boston Consulting Group, KEO International Consultants, PKF-TCH Group and Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD).
Sven P Gade, Group CEO of PKF-The Consulting House, echoed Kambrath's views by saying that the majority of "project failures were due to incomplete development program definitions".