The GCC construction market is valued at $ 2.4 trillion ($ 8.8 trillion) with around 21,000 active projects, while projects valued at $ 33.8 billion ($ 124 billion) last Year, according to a report.

Despite the decline in announcements and contract awards, project closings in 2020 were steady at $ 196.4 billion ($ 721 billion), near the 2019 level, with the second half of the year accounting for 68 percent of total deals in 2020, according to BNC Projects Journal published by Industry Networks.

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The UAE led the completion of the urban projects with a share of 50 percent, while Saudi Arabia drove the completion of the energy projects with a contribution of 33 percent. Qatar was the front runner in the transport sector with a share of 39 percent, followed by the United Arab Emirates with a share of 23 percent.

The UAE contributed 39 percent, 32 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of total project announcements, project awards, and project closings in the GCC.

“Identifying 21 reasons to be optimistic for 2021 was a challenge we set ourselves. As we worked on the list, we realized that there are many key positives for companies to consider in their mid- to long-term construction plans for the Middle East, ”said Avin Gidwani, CEO of Industry Networks.

Due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the announcements of new programs and the award of projects fell disproportionately in 2020. In 2019, GCC saw project announcements grow by four percent year over year. However, the construction market saw a trend reversal, with the numbers in 2020 even decreasing by 67 percent compared to the previous year. GCC project prices also fell, dropping as much as 35 percent in 2020.

“We are cautiously optimistic about construction in 2021 as the pandemic continues to cause economic upheaval, even as vaccines and treatments are introduced to bring the region and the world back to normal,” Gidwani said.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com