Masinaei .... Middle East countries will inject the oil windfall money into building infrastructure.

The importance of public-private partnership (PPP) as a solution to the region’s infrastructure funding gap will be debated at the two-day PPP Mena Forum that is scheduled to take place at Movenpick Grand Al Bustan, Dubai, from February 23 to 24, 2022.

More than 300 government officials, project owners, experts, business leaders, regulatory officials are expected to underline the key issues in the project development sector.

Held under the theme – ‘Fast-tracking PPP Projects for Greater Economic Recovery’, the two-day conference will see over 30 experts discuss ways and means to achieve greater public-private partnership opportunities. The forum will tackle timelines and requirements of current and future multibillion-dollar PPP project pipelines from across the region and PPP legislation plans.

PPPs or any other form of alternative provision or financing is not necessarily new and the GCC region has a long history of using the PPP method, specifically in the energy and utilities sector where numerous conventional power plants, solar power plants and desalination projects have been implemented in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

 Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Mind Events Management and organiser of the second PPP Mena Forum, said:  “As the economic activities regain momentum following the Covid-19 pandemic, governments are going to bring more projects on the drawing board for execution. With private sector’s strength, capital and resources, the governments will be looking at benefitting from the capabilities of the private sector.

“Most Middle Eastern countries have now updated their PPP legislations that gives a lot of clarity to the private sector as well as foreign investors willing to participate in the public projects.

“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 of the Middle Eastern countries are increasingly relying on private capital and private sector resources to build and expand infrastructure – in the roads, highways, bridges, utility, energy, power, aviation and telecom sectors.

Across the Mena region, PPP pipelines are either in full flow, or are primed to admit a slew of new projects under a climate of increasing cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Ziad Alexandre Hayek, President of World Association of PPP Units & Professionals, said: “It is extremely important that countries align their PPP effort with their SDG programme, that projects be designed with ESG in mind, and that political decision makers be well-informed about best practices in PPP. I will touch upon these and other topics in my talk at the second PPP Mena Forum, which will be an opportunity for the region’s PPP practitioners to come together and discuss matters of mutual interest.”

Atter Ezzat Hannoura, Director, PPP Central Unit at the Ministry of Finance – Egypt, said: “The second PPP Mena Forum comes at a crucial time where PPP can be used to kick start post pandemic economic growth and is critical to both Egypt and the wider region.”

PPP Mena Forum 2022 is supported by Ministry of Finance Egypt, World Association of PPP Units and Professionals, Ministry of Water and Electricity Kuwait, Istanbul PPP Centre of Excellence, Kuwait Authority for Partnership, Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Bahrain, and Ministry of Finance Jordan.