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For Qatari residents: Do you prefer a summer or winter World Cup 2022?

Spending Spree

Written by  Author |   Mon, 26 October 2015 04:04

Qatar to spend up to $205 billion by 2018 for infrastructure projects

The $205 billion to be spent in the period up to 2018 shows the scale of the financial commitment Qatar is making in providing in-country infrastructure as it builds towards the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar made clear that it would stick with its spending program despite the plunge in oil prices. Qatar’s public spending spree is in line up with Qatar National Vision 2030 and it was long before the Arab country was selected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.  Yet, Qatar is going steadfast with diversification as part of sustainable development in the country whose economy is expected to grow 7% this year from an estimated 6% in 2014.

According to Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P), Qatar’s economic growth will average around four percent in 2015-2018, helped by the government’s $205 billion investment program.
Actually, Qatar has enough reserves to withstand the current weak world oil price scenarios. Qatar Central Bank's foreign currency reserves are estimated at more than $40 billion and the sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority, is reported to have about a $160 billion surplus. Many economic think tanks say that these ample reserves, which have been built during the peak of oil prices, provide a "cushioning" effect for Qatar's economic growth prospects.

Qatar has mega projects for the next 10 years in line with the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the National Vision 2030. Qatar has unveiled ambitious plans to upgrade infrastructure including, a well-integrated road and rail network comprising, metro rail, roadways, highways and flyovers, upgrades to airports to accommodate the anticipated spurt in tourists and passengers and connecting the venues to the games, which are all situated in and around Doha. As work begins on the nine stadia to host prestigious World’s sporting events, a $62 billion budget has been allocated in the current financial year toward infrastructure, hotels, transport and stadia, according to a report by Ventures Middle East.

Some of the mega infrastructure projects include the $7 billion New Doha Port project, allocation of $20 billion towards construction of roadways and highways and the biggest of them being the construction of 8 Eco-friendly stadia at an estimated cost of over $32 billion, some of which are being built afresh, while others are to be refurbished. Work has already begun on seven of the eight stadiums scheduled for the World Cup at Lusail, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Al Rayyan, New Airport, the Khalifa Stadium and the Qatar Foundation Stadium. Transportation is also a cornerstone of the infrastructure upgrade budgeted in 2014, including allocations for the completion of the Hamad International Airport, which is now completed and operational contributing to the new increased influx of population in the run up to the World Cup 2022 event.

One of the Gulf's largest real estate developments is the $45 billion Lusail city that will cover 38  km2 and house up to 200,000 people. It will contain residential areas, commercial districts including the $275 million Marina Mall project, 22 hotels, four islands and two golf courses. It will feature the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium, where the championship match of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament will be played.

Msheireb is the second biggest real estate project in Qatar ($6.4 billion) that will restore 750,000 square meters of downtown Doha, the project will contain residential, retail and cultural areas as well as four hotels, all built in a style reminiscent of traditional Qatari architecture.
The $2 billion Al-Waab City is a mixed-use project that will contain residential, retail and commercial facilities plus a hotel. Least but not last, the $1.6 billion Doha Festival City is a shopping mall and entertainment park to be completed in 2016.

Construction contracts have been witnessing a steep upward trend from $18 billion in 2012 to $38 billion in 2014 and are estimated to climb further steeply to $49 billion by end of 2015. Strong environmental foundations have also been built in by adopting green codes of construction and environmentally friendly technology while building stadia and other infrastructure to host the World Cup 2022 event.

Transport development key to Qatar's infrastructure development
The rapid population growth and limited space available for new roads has exacerbated the situation while lack of adequate traffic management schemes, coupled with the high number of current vehicles on roads have increased the demand for alternative modes of transport in Qatar.
Actually, Qatar is undergoing some tremendously exciting and ambitious infrastructural developments which are going to improve all aspects of transportation in the country. With the completion of the new Hamad International Airport (HIA), the rail network is essential in order to reduce the number of cars on the roads.

A significant proportion of Qatar’s infrastructure investment is currently focused on the development of a modern rail network under the control of the Qatar Rail Company (Qatar Rail), of the Qatar Rail Development Program (QRDP). The QRDP consists of a two phase metro network: a light rail transit system and a long distance passenger and freight rail network.

As an integral part of the QRDP, the Doha Metro project will consist of four lines with the metro network extending over the Greater Doha area. The project will include connections to town centers and vital commercial and residential areas throughout the city.

The Expressway Program is a nationwide road infrastructure scheme that will improve the way people and places are connected across the city of Doha and wider Qatar. It will deliver over 900 kms of new roads and an array of underpasses, flyovers and multi-level interchanges to enable free-flowing traffic and improved journey times.

So too, Doha is undertaking extensive road works to alleviate the significant traffic congestion with the construction of the New Orbital Highway & Truck Route. This project will create an expressway with dedicated truck lanes to the west of Doha City linking the New Doha Port and Mesaieed Industrial City in the south with Al Khor in the north. The project will provide better connectivity for Dukhan, Mesaieed Industrial City and Ras Laffan Industrial City. It will create a North – South connector without having to go through Doha City; thus, reducing traffic and congestion within Doha.

Social infrastructure such as education and healthcare have also found significant allocations in the country's budgets to ensure that Qatar upgrades in every sphere to raise the standards of living of its citizens in accordance with its Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy (2011 -2016), the medium term plan adopted to achieve the vision and the World Cup 2022 targets.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is generating lots of attention, but Qatar Rail and Metro project is thought to be the world’s largest civil engineering project. Five multi-billion contracts have been already awarded for the design and construction of the tunnels and stations of the initial phase of the Doha Metro. These contracts relate to the first 130 kilometers of the railway, of which 99 kilometers will be underground.

The almost $40 billion Qatar Rail and Metro features more than 300 kilometer rail system, including a metro network within Doha as well as high-speed passenger lines, a light rail system at Lusail City and a 195 km freight line linking Mesaieed port to the industrial city of Ras Laffan; eventually, the project will be linked to a planned rail network across Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The second phase of the project will include a 150 km high-speed line to Bahrain.  The first of the metro's four lines is to be operational in 2019.

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October / 10 / 2014
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