MENA on track to be best performing global construction industry

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Mace’s latest tender cost update for the Middle East and North African region has shown that MENA is likely to be the globe’s best performing construction economy over the next decade. 

The latest research from Mace – published today – indicates that a number of factors are likely to drive significant construction growth across the entire region.

These include significant project related activity in Dubai and Qatar, renewed funding of projects in Saudi Arabia; as well as diversification efforts, oil driven economic recovery and growing structural demand for ‘basic needs’ infrastructure.

The region’s construction added value will grow by 6.2% annually to 2027, a strong pace of growth which belies mixed fortunes within, based on relative success at diversification. Despite the region’s numerous star markets, such as Egypt, Qatar, and in – the  near future Saudi Arabia – there  are many laggards dragging down the positive outlook through a myriad of security risks (such as in Libya and Yemen).

However, that growth does not necessarily reflect a predictable and sustainable margin for construction and consultancy companies working in the region. The rapid growth across construction markets in the region is also swelling prices of building materials and labour as an increasingly large pool of projects chases a finite amount of suppliers and skills. 

Add to that the disruptive effects of the Qatar embargo, recent appreciations in MENA currencies, and the ongoing reliance on skilled and unskilled migrant labour and there is a perfect storm of cost pressures that could have an unpredictable impact. 

Mark Taylor, Mace’s MENA Regional Director, said: 

“Tier 1 multinational contractors are exiting this challenging market due to cash flow issues at the same time as oil price growth loosens fiscal conditions in some countries. This is allowing project activity to ramp back up in previously depressed markets such as Saudi Arabia. With lower levels of capacity available in the market, and strong demand from diverse drivers, it is a supplier’s market which could ultimately drive up tender prices.”
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