UAE at­tracts in­vest­ment

Money to be made in in­fras­truc­ture

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS -

The UAE and Qatar are among the top three most at­trac­tive mar­kets for in­fras­truc­ture in­vestors, ac­cord­ing to con­sul­tancy firm Ar­cadis.

The firm said that, de­spite low oil prices ef­fect­ing in­vest­ment into in­fras­truc­ture, UAE and Qatar have se­cure business en­vi­ron­ments, sta­ble fi­nan­cial sec­tors and strong growth po­ten­tial.

The most at­trac­tive coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Ar­cadis, is Sin­ga­pore, with Qatar com­ing in sec­ond and the UAE in third. The top five is rounded out by Canada and Malaysia.

Other coun­tries in the top 10 were Nor­way, Swe­den, USA, UK and The Nether­lands.

Ar­cadis said that de­spite in­fras­truc­ture be­ing a long-term in­vest­ment, its third Global In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment In­dex high­lights that short-term fac­tors, such as cur­rency de­val­u­a­tions, com­mod­ity prices and se­cu­rity is­sues, can be a bar­rier to in­vest­ment.

It said that, given these is­sues, na­tions such as the UAE, which has tra­di­tion­ally funded in­fras­truc­ture through the pub­lic sec­tor, is open­ing up to pri­vate fi­nance, which could bridge the fund­ing gap for the de­vel­op­ment of much needed new in­fras­truc­ture, in­clud­ing the ex­ten­sion of Dubai Metro.

Ben Khan, Mid­dle East Client De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor at Ar­cadis, said: “In­fras­truc­ture is an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as­set class for pri­vate sec­tor in­vestors, par­tic­u­larly in times of in­creased risk and un­cer­tainty.

“Whilst op­por­tu­ni­ties have been lim­ited in the re­gion due to fall­ing ex­port rev­enues, as we see more GCC coun­tries open­ing up to pri­vate fi­nance, this can cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vestors in the short to medium term.”

The in­dex is pub­lished ev­ery two years and ranks 41 coun­tries by their at­trac­tive­ness to in­vestors in in­fras­truc­ture. It looks at var­i­ous is­sues, in­clud­ing the ease of do­ing business in each mar­ket, tax rates, GDP per capita, gov­ern­ment pol­icy, the qual­ity of the ex­ist­ing in­fras­truc­ture and the avail­abil­ity of debt fi­nance.

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