(MENAFN Press) A widely anticipated law to regulate public-private partnerships (PPP's) will accelerate development of key infrastructure projects as the private sector plays a greater role in the sustainable urban development. The Qatari government has expressed plans to transfer public sector-led development to a market-driven economy, recognizing the opportunities in engaging in private sector enterprise and the speed at which projects could potentially be completed.
Over US140 billion has been committed to mega projects and smart city development in Qatar's Vision 2030 plan across energy, transport, education, health and tourism sectors. An impressive series of projects in the pipeline include a US68.5 billion injection into a transport corridor, new roads, railways, a new Doha airport, and deep-water seaport, along with US4 billion to be invested in stadiums and an additional boost into new hotels and tourism facilities. As hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar has an incentive to deliver world class facilities and services, with PPP initiatives having the potential to avoid time and cost overruns on these crucial developments and the freeing up of the public sector workforce for policy making and project implementation.
A 2012 study by Markab Advisory found that countries in the GCC plan to invest up to US2 trillion in PPP's and infrastructure over the next decade, and that a more efficient process would save Qatar US30 billion. The study recommended the government create a centralized PPP unit and a fund to streamline activities, provide direction and aid political support.
PPP's have played a strategic role in the development of a number of key projects across the Middle East region, although these have been predominantly in the energy sector. Much-publicized failures and high-profile delays such as the US3 billion Mafraq-Gweihat highway in Abu Dhabi and the US billion Landbridge in Saudi Arabia have hindered the uptake of the concept on a wider scale, although the extend of new infrastructure and smart urban development plans may act as the catalyst to accelerate a transition of projects from the public to the private sector.
King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia is the largest private sector development in the Middle East, consisting of the construction of a seaport, industrial valley, education zone, central business district, residential zone and resorts. Developed on innovative models of PPP's the development of KAEC is being undertaken by the private sector, with the public sector creating a business environment which allows investments to flourish. The model has been very successful in attracting global companies to the Saudi Arabian market and seeks to encourage foreign trade movement which in return will benefit Saudi Arabia's economic and social sectors.
Rayan Qutub, Executive Director “ Head of Business Development and Economic Cities Authority at Emmar, The Economic City, will be speaking at the Arab Future Cities Summit in Doha about the KAEC's PPP model and approach to ensuring long-term commercial viability. Robert Lee, CEO of Bahrain Bay Development, and Eng. Essa Mohammed Ali Kaldari, CEO Lusail Real Estate Development Company will also join Rayan Qutub in a panel discussion which will look at key points for stimulating economic growth, strategies for successful public-private partnerships, attracting businesses, retaining talent and ensuring employment for citizens.
The Arab Future Cities Summit being held on 22 & 23 April 2013 at the St. Regis Doha, Qatar will provide a platform for discussion between public and private sector decision-makers involved in sustainable urban development in Qatar and across the Middle East region.
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