Public-private partnership forum to highlight Mena projects in the works

Senior government officials, private business leaders, experts and regulators to attend two-day conference in Dubai

The Dubai Metro is a public-private partnership (PPP) project that cost Dh28 billion to develop in co-operation with at least five multinational corporations. Chris Whiteoak / The National

More than 300 government officials and business leaders will gather in Dubai in February to discuss the public-private partnership model for developing infrastructure in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Nearly 242 projects worth more than $223 billion under development in the region will dominate the PPP Mena Forum from February 23-24, with project executions expected to pick up post the Coronavirus pandemic.

“As the economic activities regain momentum following the Covid-19 pandemic, governments are going to bring more projects on the drawing board for execution,” Leila Masinaei, managing partner, Great Mind Events Management and organiser of the second PPP Mena Forum, said in a statement on Thursday.

“With oil prices at a more comfortable level, the oil exporting countries in the Middle East will definitely inject the oil windfall money into building infrastructure – where the governments will bank on the public-private partnership model – now that the regulatory regime is firmly in place.”

Governments in the Gulf region are increasingly turning to the PPP model, which can help finance major infrastructure and utilities projects. Many of them are developing legal frameworks to regulate PPP projects, which are expected to improve transparency and attract investment.

Projects worth Dh25 billion ($6.81 billion) will be built using public and private money under plans announced by Dubai’s government in October. Public-private partnerships were described as key to attracting investment for development in the UAE’s Projects of the 50.

The Mena region would need between $75bn and $100bn worth of investments per year over the following 20 years to meet its needs, according to World Bank estimates.

The two-day conference will involve experts discussing ways and means to achieve greater public-private partnership opportunities, and tackling the requirements of current and future PPP project pipelines from across the region, and PPP legislation plans.

Updated: December 10th 2021, 5:30 AM