A bumper start to the year for MENA PPPs

The start of the year has augured well for the Middle East PPP pipeline. The UAE in particular has continued its momentum in the early stages of 2023, with its latest project garnering international attention.

Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa University released a request for qualifications (RFQ) in January for private partners to deliver a 3,350-bed student accommodation development. The move signals an exciting trend towards UAE public services being issued out to private investors.

Interest in the UAE’s PPP potential has intensified in recent months. In November, billionaire developer Nick Candy highlighted Abu Dhabi as a place he wants to be doing business, potentially in infrastructure. 

To read more on the exciting potential of the UAE, read our recent feature on the market.

Meanwhile, in the wider MENA region, four bidders for Egypt’s sprawling Tenth of Ramadan dry port project will submit their financial and technical proposals on 30 April.

Egypt’s PPP market has been largely dormant since the political turmoil of the Arab Spring, which caused much of the pipeline to be waylaid. But things are changing. With Egypt’s economy in dire straits amid a plunging currency, the Arab world’s largest state is turning to PPPs to entice foreign investment and upgrade its national services.

And in another sign of a rejuvenated appetite for leveraging private financing models in MENA, neighbouring Jordan recently announced plans to build an entire city based on PPP investment.

What a start to the year. We look forward to reporting on what’s to come.