Saudi’s NCP courts Canadian firms

Agency sees two-way street as it looks to learn from established market and encourage new investors to the Middle East

Credit: Getty

Saudi Arabia’s National Centre for Privatisation & PPP (NCP) is looking to boost awareness of its pipeline across the globe, and has this week been promoting opportunities to the Canadian market.

The organisation had exhibition space at this year’s Canadian Council for PPPs (CCPP) annual conference, where they looked to discuss prospects for investment and opportunities for investors and others to get involved in the Saudi Arabian PPP market.

“Canada has a lot of experience in PPPs and is one of the main ways they procure their infrastructure,” said Hani N Alsaigh, vice president for strategic marketing & knowledge management at NCP.

He told P3 Bulletin that the opportunity offered by Canada is to get into discussions with the wide range of different classes of investor that operate in the market, and to help Saudi companies - which already has an established foothold in the PPP market - to find opportunities for collaboration.

“We also want to get the word out that we have the largest PPP pipeline in the world,” he added.

To date, Saudi Arabia has not lacked for interest in its projects, with Alsaigh pointing out that its extended care packages received initial bids from over 200 companies, from 19 different countries.

“The interest is there,” he continued, pointing to the state’s strong economy (“we have the highest growth rate in the G20”); the way the projects are structured to be similar to international standards that are recognised by investors; the solid legal framework; and the fact the country has “built up governance” so that as to make sure projects are affordable before they are tendered.

“We also have a diverse pipeline,” Alsaigh added.

It is that pipeline which means that, despite there being strong interest in the country’s PPP projects so far, the NCP is keen to gather as many players as possible.

With a pipeline of over 200 projects already approved - and another 300 currently under review that could also be included in that pipeline - Saudi Arabia will need as many investors, contractors, developers and others as it can find.

However, Alsaigh said the NCP delegation was also in Canada to learn, as the organisation seeks to increase its own expertise in preparation for driving through these developments.

Among the schemes being developed by Saudi Arabia is the Project Neom initiative to build a new city - with PPPs to play a critical role in that programme.

Earlier this month, the Project Neom team opened its first international office in London, UK, which will serve as a base to expand its relationships with organisations across Europe.

To read more about how PPPs may need to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of mega programmes like Neom, click here.