Climate Drives Arab Countries to Increase Infrastructure Spending | Mohammed Hammad


Cairo – Natural hazards have prompted many countries to adopt ambitious development programs, pumping up investment packages to strengthen infrastructure and preserve its investment attractiveness.

A large number of countries in the region have witnessed unprecedented natural hazards due to climate change, which requires infrastructure that matches the fluctuations that have surprised the countries of the region.

Indicators from the Report on Natural Disasters in the Middle East and North Africa, prepared by the World Bank, revealed that natural disasters have tripled in the countries of the region over the past three decades, compared to only twice in the world, which has pushed countries to put infrastructure investments at the forefront of priorities.

Despite the investment boom that countries have set up to usher in, natural challenges still exist, but they differ from one country to another according to the measures that increase readiness.

The challenges differ from one Arab country to another, as they vary between water scarcity, increased climate change, rapid population growth and their concentration in urban areas, especially in unsafe and random housing estates.

The urban population makes up 62% of the total population of the Arab region, while this number is expected to double by 2040, and this imbalance has caused an increase in nature’s anger, as approximately 3% of the area is inhabited by 92%. of the population.

Citizens of different regions face periodic flooding in light of a limited protective structure, inadequate city-wide water drainage systems and weak measures to reduce the impact of floods on people.

Despite these obstacles, some countries in the region have made progress in managing disaster risk and moving from reactive to proactive measures to avert the effects of disasters.

The Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were preceded by others in promoting their infrastructure investments in advance.

Hisham Kamal: Investing in infrastructure is a fundamental pillar in combating wilderness
Hisham Kamal: Investing in infrastructure is a fundamental pillar to combat wilderness

Arab governments have improved their understanding of the risks their countries face and have adopted programs to develop awareness among their citizens of this problem, and many efforts have emerged to create institutions dedicated to disaster risk management and invest them in programs which include early warning systems and risk assessments at the city and country level as a whole.

While there is an impetus for the focus on disaster risk management in the region, the integrated approaches needed to address disasters need to be further developed.

Several Arab countries have allocated large sums of money to support infrastructure projects, after the rainy seasons of recent years have revealed the inability to deal with the consequences of climate change, which seemed to affect several Arab cities.

The dragon storm recently hit one of Cairo’s most prestigious neighborhoods and caused luxury residences to sink in the Fifth Settlement area, after more than half a billion cubic feet of rain fell in two days, which is equivalent to to one percent of its share of Nile water.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that the country needs investments of between $ 13 and $ 19 billion to prepare the country’s infrastructure to withstand the storms, which are the first strong test bed for the country’s facilities.

Fathallah Fawzi, head of the construction committee at the Egyptian Association of Businessmen, said that investment in infrastructure is the first element of development.

He added to “Al-Arab” that the Arab region is currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in this sector and is adopting reform programs to increase the growth rates of its economy and increase the well-being of the people over the next decade.

Yasser Emara: The Gulf states have strengthened their structure and the problem is aggravated in poor countries
Yasser Amara: The Gulf states have strengthened their structure and the problem is getting worse in poor countries

The Arabian Gulf region alone has allocated 715 billion dollars for construction projects and new transportation, in addition to allocating another package worth 393 billion dollars, all in progress or still in the planning phase.

It is targeting a series of additional projects worth $ 322 billion in the pre-implementation phase following the approval of their feasibility studies.

The total value of contracts for construction and transportation projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries alone amounted to approximately $ 63 billion.

Hisham Kamal, head of the 1000 Factory Investors Association in New Cairo, stressed that directing Arab countries towards allocating financial packages to strengthen infrastructure is an important step in avoiding the impact of natural hazards, and it is expected that The next few years will be brutal, as infrastructure is a key pillar for increasing local investment and attracting foreign capital.

He explained that many Arab countries have established their infrastructure without taking into account the risks of flooding, so they try to close the gap to face future challenges.

Some Arab countries apply strategies to take advantage of natural disasters, including streams and floods, by collecting water from streams and using it to irrigate gardens or by reprocessing and using it optimally.

And some countries went to collect this water and rationally add it to the storage of groundwater in the ground.

Over the next four decades, Saudi Arabia is monitoring a package of investments in infrastructure projects, costing approximately $ 1.1 trillion.

Investment expert Yasser Emara stressed that natural disasters have made infrastructure development one of the most important determinants for attracting investments, especially if it is a structure characterized by digital management controlled by electronic technologies that are characterized by rapidity of solving bottlenecks.

In a statement to Al Arab, he pointed out that some Gulf countries have strengthened their infrastructure during the last period after being exposed to strong torrential waves, while poor countries like Sudan and Yemen, which are experiencing political and economic instability. , have been severely affected by torrents and floods which displaced many. Families have destroyed thousands of homes due to a lack of good infrastructure.

The African Road Builders Forum awarded Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the prestigious “Babacar Ndiaye” road construction award for 2020, as a result of developing and building projects and improving other transport infrastructure.

Through capital spending packages in infrastructure projects, the countries of the region reap a range of gains, the most important of which are the flow of investments and the improvement of their growth rates, the abundance of goods in the markets at prices. fair and the creation of job opportunities for young people, which increases popular satisfaction and political stability for governments.

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