1. Expo 2020 Dubai

Expected completion date:

2019-20

What is it?

The World Expo is scheduled to hold its quinquennial event in Dubai in 2020. The emirate is building a purpose-built complex and pavilions in Dubai South over an area of 438 hectares.

Why is it important?

As with the 2022 World Cup, this will be first time a World Expo is held in the Arab world. With 25 million visitors expected, the event has acted as a catalyst for business and tourism development in the emirate.

Likelihood of happening:

10/10

2. The 2022 World Cup

Expected completion date:

2020

What is it?

Construction of all the required transport, sporting and real estate infrastructure to host the Arab world’s first global sporting event in Doha.

Why is it important?

Fifa awarded its 2022 World Cup to Qatar with the aim of spreading the world’s most watched sporting event to a region that had never held the competition before. It has acted as a catalyst for a massive ramp-up in project spending in Qatar, the centrepiece of which is eight new and revamped stadiums and a brand new metro system.

Likelihood of happening:

10/10

The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour

3. Dubai Creek Harbour

Expected completion date:

2024

What is it?

A new 6km-square high-rise residential district featuring The Tower, set to be the tallest structure ever built.

Why is it important?

Even in a city of superlatives, the $30bn-plus project is eye-catching. The project’s masterplanner and chief developer, Emaar Properties, is determined to go one step further with Dubai Creek Harbour by creating a city within a city.

Likelihood of happening:

9/10  Emaar built the world’s current tallest structure, Burj Khalifa, and short of a dramatic real estate crisis, it is difficult to see it dropping the ball on its most prestigious project.

4. Duqm refinery & petrochemicals complex

Expected completion date:

2023 onwards

What is it?

A grassroots 230,000-barrel-a-day refinery and integrated petrochemical complex in a new, purpose-built industrial zone in Oman.

Why is it important?

Aimed at turning the sultanate into a crude and refined products storage and processing hub, the $15bn-plus complex is the cornerstone of the government’s long-term economic vision.

Likelihood of happening:

7/10  Initial infrastructure work has already started; the main refinery packages are due to be awarded once financing and ownership structure has been finalised.

Six Flags

5. Entertainment City

Expected completion date:

2022

What is it?

A 334-square-kilometre new entertainment city south of Riyadh with its own Six Flags theme park, cultural facilities and safari park.

Why is it important?

In a country where cinemas are still banned and live concerts virtually unheard of, this is a major social experiment in addition to being an unprecedented megaproject in its own right.

Likelihood of happening:

7/10  Much will depend on the government’s ability to convince the religiously conservative establishment that the project is necessary.

6. Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah causeway

Expected completion date:

2018

What is it?

A $3.5bn, 36km roadway across Kuwait Bay, linking the capital with the Subiya peninsula.

Why is it important?

The project will link the main population centres of Kuwait with the relatively unpopulated north of the state and Bubyan Island, reducing travel times to less than 30 minutes, compared with the 90 minutes it currently takes. By doing so, it will open up the north to residential and commercial development.

Likelihood of happening:

10/10  The causeway is already under construction and more than 70 per cent completed.

Baraka nuclear power plant

7. Baraka nuclear power plant (phase 1)

Expected completion date:

2020

What is it?

Four 1,400MW third-generation nuclear reactors based on South Korean technology located in the far west of Abu Dhabi emirate. With a total investment in excess of $20bn, it is the single largest project ever developed in the region.

Why is it important?

As the first nuclear power plant in the Arab world, Baraka has enormous significance as it demonstrates the GCC’s gradual shift from fossil fuels to alternative and renewable energy.

Likelihood of happening:

10/10

8. The GCC Railway

Expected completion date:

2022 at the earliest

What is it?

A 2,100-kilometre-plus freight and passenger, diesel-powered railway across the GCC linking Kuwait City in the north and Salalah in the south, with spur lines into Bahrain and Qatar.

Why is it important?

The network will connect the six GCC states by rail for the first time, offering a high-speed alternative to routes currently dominated by air and road traffic. Potentially, the railway could change commuting and living dynamics by creating free movement of goods and people across the Arabian Peninsula. The fact that it could enable freight vessels to bypass the Strait of Hormuz by instead using Omani ports is one of the main stumbling blocks to its implementation so far. Cost, topology, visas and politics are the other main impediments.

Likelihood of happening:

6/10  Despite an already delayed official opening date of 2022, there are few signs that work on this decade-old project will start soon.

Al-Maktoum International airport

9. Al-Maktoum International airport expansion

Expected completion date:

2025

What is it?

Expanding the existing international airport in Dubai South. With an annual passenger handling capacity of 120 million in its first phase expansion and 260 million when its second phase is completed, Al-Maktoum International will be the largest airport ever built.

Why is it important?

With Dubai International reaching its maximum capacity, the emirate needs a new capacity.

Likelihood of happening:

7/10  Infrastructure works for the expansion are under way; the first works packages should be awarded this year.

10. The Capital Cairo

Expected completion date:

2028

What is it?

A new greenfield capital city for Egypt.

Why is it important?

With a population approaching 20 million, Cairo is reaching the limits of its growth. Faced with worsening traffic congestion, pollution and utility challenges, the government’s solution has been to look at building a new capital to the east, containing all the apparatus of government as well as housing, commercial and services real estate.

Likelihood of happening:

5/10  Financing is a major challenge, especially following the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. There are also question marks around its economic feasibility.