Mideast’s USD188bn locomotive of growth

Posted on February 22, 2012

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USD 173 billion of track, rolling stock and peripheral development is ongoing in the GCC alone.

English: Metro Dubai on its opening day Septem...

The Dubai metro has transformed life in the city. Other nations of the Middle East are aiming higher. (Image via Wikipedia)

Even in a region where big numbers have become relatively commonplace over the past five to seven years, here’s one that is guaranteed to railroad you into buying the MENA growth story. More than USD 188 billion worth of railway projects are currently under development in the GCC, North Africa and Levant countries, according to information updated on the Zawya Projects Monitor. Of these, a massive USD 173 billion of track, rolling stock and peripheral development is ongoing in the six Gulf nations, USD 7.5 billion in North Africa and USD 8 billion in the rest of MENA.

These numbers do not account for ideas that are on hold for any reason; these are projects that have been started and are at various stages of development. Qatar leads the charge with USD 54.7 billion of rail investments being deployed across three massive projects. Saudi Arabia is close on its heels with USD 52.6 billion for 11 projects. Kuwait has only two massive rail projects worth USD 40 billion involving more than 2,500 km of track. And the UAE is spending more than USD 18 billion spread over six rail developments.

It’s not merely a question of laying track and putting trains on them. It’s not merely about building bridges, tunnels, viaducts, stations, signals, communications systems, control centers and other infrastructure to support these ambitious railway plans. It is also a matter of spawning new industrial clusters to supply the material needed; new employment opportunities for a largely youthful population; and perhaps even spinning off new cities along the tracks. Travel will become more affordable; tourism will flourish; social interaction will increase; urbanization will spread to more regions; goods and industrial raw materials will be delivered faster and more economically.

The advent of rail networks in the past has transformed the countries and economies of the West and the East. It promises to do the same for the Middle East and North Africa over the next half-decade or so.

— Yazad Darasha

More intelligence on MENA rail ambitions (Zawya.com):

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Posted in: Projects