The Gulf accounted for almost 90 percent of the $2.5 trillion projects currently underway in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with Saudi and the UAE leading the rest of the Gulf, according to a new report.
The Middle East Macro Monthly report by Citi Research said $1.4 trillion of the projects in the MENA are in the execution phase, with $645bn in the pipeline at a relatively advanced stage, and $422bn in the very early stages of development.
It said of the $2.2 trillion of projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area, Saudi and the UAE were the most important product markets in the region, together accounting for almost 60 percent of regional projects by value.
Egypt was the only non-GCC country with projects underway in excess of $100bn and ranked fifth in the region by value, it said.
The report said projects underway accounted for a relatively small share of economic activity in non-oil producing countries in the region, with the exception of Jordan, where projects underway represented more than 130 percent of GDP.
“Projects underway in Bahrain, the UAE and Oman are valued at over 150 percent of current GDP, providing significant potential stimulus to economic growth,” it said.
Meanwhile, despite its high ranking in absolute project value, Saudi ranked lowest among GCC countries in terms of value relative to GDP.
The report said the greatest concentration of projects was in the real estate sector, with more than $1 trillion of work underway in mostly community development, economic and industrial zones.
Other sectors with significant investment were infrastructure ($512bn), oil and gas ($376bn) and power and water ($298bn).
However, it noted that the chunky and long-term nature of these projects - often in the tens of billions of dollars – tended to exaggerate the actual spend in any given year.
The report said there was a heavy bias in the UAE towards real estate projects, while infrastructure projects dominated in Qatar.
The oil & gas sector is of greatest significance in Algeria, while Jordan was spending most on power & water.