Building work that once froze in the Middle East is resuming. This time the focus is on trade hubs and transport systems rather than iconic skyscrapers and landmarks.
This positive outlook comes after a tough few years for contractors. According to industry research, just $51.4 billion in contracts were awarded on building and infrastructure projects in the GCC, Jordan, Lebanon, Algeria and Egypt in 2012, 31% lower than 2011.
In the last year, nevertheless, numerous projects have recommenced in intense after being put on slow during the crisis as industries that shelved work dealt with termination of their contracts.
Meanwhile, UAE apparently had its biggest year of project awards in the last three, obtaining $34 billion of contracts in 2013.
In a positive sign for the longevity of the boom this time round, far fewer of the schemes under way fall into the trophy category denoted by some of the peculiar real estate visions that didn’t improve further than the dreamscape.
Even though developers in the Emirates are proposing the world’s biggest shopping mall and a $1 billion copy of the Taj Mahal, these are outshined by the $4.3 trillion in infrastructure expenditure that is seemingly planned for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) as a whole before 2020.
Comparable trends will succeed for the UAE in the run up to Expo 2020. Dubai seems to spend up to Dh26 billion on infrastructure, as well as on the extension of the Red Line to the new airport, Dubai World Central.