Governments across nations are adopting solutions and undertaking measures to promote smart city development. It has been estimated that over the next 20 years, cities across the world will invest approximately $41 trillion on technologies to offer improved services. While the pace of urbanization has increased exponentially, to fill the existing gap and meet the requirement of the citizens, the need to build, develop and manage a robust urban infrastructure network to facilitate industrial & service sector growth is crucial.
Globally Barcelona, Singapore, Amsterdam and Australia are leading the way in smart city implementation; in the Middle East, Dubai and Doha are fast becoming smart cities with a significant uptick in the adoption of smart services and increase in infrastructure spending. ICT is considered the key enabler of smart city development. While the integration of technology to improve the citizen-oriented services and provide a more connected network is important, infrastructure also remains a key component in the development of smart cities. Reports indicate that the worldwide infrastructure spending will grow to more than $9 trillion per year by 2025. As per the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS), Qatar’s construction industry is a critical non-oil growth driver.
In the 2017 budget, announced a few months back by the Ministry of Finance QR93.2bn ($25.6bn) has been allocated for major projects in key areas such as health, education and transport, including QR46.1bn ($12.7bn) on new projects divided between infrastructure and transportation programmes worth QR25bn ($6.9bn), followed by FIFA World Cup 2022 projects estimated at QR8.5bn ($2.3bn), and health and education programmes worth QR5.8bn ($1.6bn).
With 1 million visitors expected to throng to Qatar for the World Cup 2022, there has been a surge in infrastructure spending across key segments such as transport, broadly encompassing rail, roads, airport and ports; utilities covering telecommunications, power generation and water; hospitals, real estate and stadiums. With an estimated budget of $35bn-45bn, the Qatar Rail Development Programme is one of the most expensive infrastructure projects underway in the state. Few years back, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) had announced that by the year 2022, the country would be investing $20bn-25bn in new tourism projects. Recently the Ministry of Finance in Qatar announced that the government is currently spending $500m a week on capital projects in preparation for its World Cup games in 2022 with more than $200bn to be spent on stadiums and major projects such as roads, a new airport and hospitals.
Under the theme ‘Advanced Technologies Transforming Qatar’s Future’, the 6th Annual Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar 2017 will cover topics that focus on sustainable city infrastructure development leading to economic growth, improved connectivity and overall a better quality of life. The two-day summit will be held on 10th and 11th April at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha. More information on the 6th Annual Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar is available now at http://www.arabfuturecities.com/. Follow the Summit on social media with the hashtag #AFCS2017.