With some USD173 billion worth of projects under tender in the GCC, of which USD80 billion are in Saudi Arabia, the Big 5 Saudi Construction Leadership Summit – a leading construction platform for the latest technologies from world-leading brands – returned to Riyadh in March, for the second consecutive year.
In 2020, the GCC witnessed a drastic decline of 35% in total contract awards of construction projects, which was directly correlated with lower government spending, falling oil prices and, most notably, the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these factors made 2021 the worst for the market in almost two decades, the GCC is well positioned for a strong resurgence.
“As the Kingdom strives to reduce its dependence on oil and simultaneously diversify the economy, efforts to ramp up PIF (Public Investment Fund) tendering in recent months have and will continue to help achieve the advancement of Vision 2030,” said Managing Director of Sovereign Saudi Arabia Paul Arnold.
“Since the summer of 2021, only NEOM (the ‘future city’ being built in northwestern Saudi Arabia) has entered into full-scale construction, with development worth an estimated USD500 billion. In addition, there are still USD720 billion worth of projects under the PIF programme, of which only 1% have so far been awarded.”
Currently, there is over USD2.3 trillion worth of planned but not yet awarded projects in the GCC pipeline of which the largest share, some USD1.18 trillion, is in Saudi Arabia. The UAE has about half of this total at just under USD650 billion, followed by Kuwait, Oman and Qatar, which each have between USD125 billion and USD170 billion in future projects.
“If only half of these scheduled projects go ahead, this would still compare favourably with the more than USD1.2 trillion worth of contracts that have been awarded in the region over the past decade,” said Arnold.
“The Big 5 Saudi Construction Leadership Summit has been known to spur collective collaboration, and with projected figures indicating a very healthy short-term pipeline, the 11th annual edition couldn’t have happened at a better time.”
The new ‘industrial revolution’ continues to accelerate innovation and progress across all sectors; and the construction market has been no exception. Emerging technologies such as 3D printing and the internet of things are increasingly being employed on projects, and the Big 5 Summit served as a catalyst to discussions centred around key themes such as economy, sustainable development, leadership, investment, technology and people.