The UAE has been ranked fourth most attractive location for infrastructure investment in the world, according to a new report.
"The UAE finished fourth overall due to it world-class taxation system and pro-business environment," EC Harris, a global built asset consultancy, said in its Infrastructure Investment Index report.
"KSA and the UAE offer a good economic environment; while Saudi households consume more, the UAE has greater GDP per capita and more population. However, the UAE does have a more open and regulated government and benefits from lower levels of political and social instability compared to Saudi Arabia," it added.
With this ranking the UAE outperforms countries such as the USA, China, the UK, Japan and Australia.
Singapore topped the list of the 40 countries surveyed by the index. Qatar, host to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, came in second followed by Canada. Saudi Arabia missed a slot among the top 10 locations, coming in 11th.
The infrastructure investment index ranks countries based on the following key criteria: Quality of existing infrastructure; economic environment; ease of doing business; political/social environment and availability of finance/financial environment.
In June, the UAE was ranked first regionally and 11th globally in terms of in terms of the availability and quality of transport infrastructure by the Global Enabling Trade Report 2012 released by the World Economic Forum.
The UAE was among the 17 economies who have 100 per cent of their road network paved and was globally ranked fourth in terms of the quality of air transport infrastructure, sixth in terms of the quality of seaport infrastructure, and seventh in transshipment connectivity in the report.
The UK-based consultancy said the level of risk facing investors in the Middle East was comparatively low, with high levels of income per capita, low taxation and strong government support for large-scale infrastructure schemes – three of the primary factors that were helping to reduce risk and build real confidence within the investor community.
"The UAE's and Qatar's willingness and ability to quickly move major projects forward, contrasted heavily with the UK and parts of Western Europe where overly high levels of regulation, bureaucracy and tax are threatening to undermine their future competitiveness."
Alistair Kirk, Head of Infrastructure, Industry & Utilities, Middle East at EC Harris, in a statement, said: "The Qatari government has shown a real willingness to enter into joint venture agreements with the private finance community, to build the infrastructure needed to deliver their 2030 National Vision.
"Qatar offers an excellent business environment however for investors the biggest challenge is likely to come from a project delivery perspective. Securing access to the right capability within the supply chain and to the volume of materials required to deliver so many projects in such a short window, will require rigorous and early planning".
Qatar National Bank, in its recent report, said the total budgets of all projects currently underway in the wealthiest country in terms of GDP per capita was $243 billion,.
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