Qatar and UK have joined hands to establish an independent, not-for-profit institute in Doha for understanding the financing, risk appraisal and management of large complex infrastructure projects.
The newly launched Institute for Infrastructure Studies will strive to become the global centre of excellence to support the USD 70 trillion infrastructure industry. The launch was attended by London Mayor Boris Johnson and more than 50 senior officials from Qatar, London and other Gulf countries.
The institute’s initial five-year plan envisages “original thinking and research into the appraisal and better management of risks associated with large, complex infrastructure programs.” The Institute is being partially funded by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority. The centre’s wide database of research and project information will help all stakeholders in developing a consistent risk evaluation methodology and learn about emerging trends in finance, program management and project performance.
According to Ian Kennedy, co-founder and director of the Institute, the body will focus on public and freight transportation systems, ports, social infrastructure and stadia, and closely collaborate with public and private authorities to improve the funding and management of these assets. Independent research on the issues of infrastructure project delivery, risk appraisal and funding are expected to provide new practical insights into raising the industry standards.
In recent years, the oil-rich Middle East countries have aimed to diversify their economic base and invest in projects that help to earn revenues, reducing overall reliance on oil exports. Qatar is leading the region in terms of infrastructure development, with the state allocating about 40 percent of its budget till 2016 to fund large projects. Qatar has earmarked USD 5.5 billion for a deepwater seaport, USD 20 billion for roads and a USD 17.5 billion for a new airport.
Although governments have realized the importance of investing in infrastructure for sustained economic growth, there is lack of understanding in how to plan, manage and fund such mega projects. As a result, several hundred million dollars are wasted due to costly project delays and other unrealized social objectives.