Read the June 2024 MEED Business Review

30 May 2024
Saudi Arabia's stepwise approach to project delivery; Baghdad pushes logistics vision amid oil sector weakness; Geopolitical risk hits demand for regional stocks
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There has been a sharp decline in the value of contracts awarded on Saudi gigaprojects this year as Riyadh seeks to balance the delivery of its ambitious schemes with the reality of its financial capabilities.

Although major new projects continue to be launched – such as the mixed-use Jaumur community at Neom’s Gulf of Aqaba development, which was announced in early May – a recalibration is under way in the kingdom’s projects market as spending is reined in

“The feedback we are getting is that budget spending for 2024 has been reduced by about 30% on average,” one international consultant tells MEED.

Against this backdrop, the use of a public-private partnership (PPP) model for the procurement of the multi-utility packages for the Red Sea and Amaala developments, as well as for the staff accommodation packages at Neom, opens up an alternative route for Saudi Arabia to finance its gigaprojects.

Saudi Aramco, the main engine of the kingdom’s economy, is also exploring the PPP pathway, reaching out to external investors in order to make more funds available for its main shareholder, the Public Investment Fund, to spend on Saudi Vision 2030 plans and the kingdom’s gigaprojects.

While Aramco has once again topped the MEED Top 100 ranking of the largest listed firms in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, this year the oil giant has dipped in value from $2.1tn to about $1.95tn – making it a key contributor to a fall in the overall value of the list. The combined value of the region's 100 biggest firms has fallen slightly amid rising regional geopolitical risk, from $3.8tn last year to $3.7tn in 2024.

Meanwhile, this month's exclusive 15-page market report highlights Iraq, where Prime Minister Mohammed Al Sudani is facing mounting pressure as he struggles to maintain political stability.

MEED's latest issue is packed with insight and analysis. The team examines Kuwait's efforts to expedite its oil projects; assesses the political crackdown in Tunisia; considers how nuclear power will help the region to achieve its artificial intelligence ambitions; and looks at why Petrofac projects worth $6.6bn are at risk in the Mena region.

This month's issue also features MEED's Economic Activity Index, which assesses the near-term economic health of regional markets. A gap has opened up between the economic and fiscal performances of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2024 to date, allowing the UAE to top the index. 

The June issue also includes an interview with Sumayah Al Solaiman, CEO of the Architecture and Design Commission at the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Culture, in which she explains the organisation’s objectives and strategies. Omar Al Hashmi, CEO of Taqa’s Transmission & Distribution business, shares his insight on efforts to decarbonise the global energy grid, and we reveal the winners of the Mena Banking Excellence Awards.

We hope our valued subscribers enjoy the June 2024 issue of MEED Business Review


Must-read sections in the June 2024 issue of MEED Business Review include:

AGENDA: Riyadh reins in spendingPPP offers budget and efficiency routes; Opening up property sales; Aramco explores PPP pathway

> CURRENT AFFAIRS: Kuwait moves to expedite oil projectsPolitical crackdown in Tunisia causes concern

MEED’s Top 100 Companies
Middle East equities weather the storm

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY INDEX: UAE economy regains regional lead

LEADERSHIP: Decarbonising the global energy grid

> NUCLEAR: Nuclear power will help region achieve AI ambitions

> OIL & GAS: Petrofac projects worth $6.6bn at risk in Mena region

> INTERVIEW: Saudi Ministry of Culture leads design change

> BANKING AWARDS: Mena Banking Excellence Awards winners revealed


> COMMENT: Baghdad faces mounting pressure
> GOVERNMENT: Al Sudani struggles to maintain Iraq’s political stability

> ECONOMY: Iraq economic revival faces headwinds
> SECURITY: Iraq gas field attack to impact projects
> OIL & GAS: Iraqi oil and gas projects activity dips, but holds
> POWER: Iraq electricity sector makes slow progress
> CONSTRUCTION: Iraq steps up post-war revival

Al Maktoum airport expansion must go ahead this time
Aramco keeps the project spending wheel turning
Electric vehicles have a long way to go
Boycotts are a boon for local brands

> GULF PROJECTS INDEX: UAE leads market expansion

> APRIL 2024 CONTRACTS: Five countries record multibillion-dollar deals

> MARKET SNAPSHOT: Mena PPP projects

> OPINIONUS foreign policy approach remains adrift

BUSINESS OUTLOOK: Finance, oil and gas, construction, power and water contracts

To see previous issues of MEED Business Review, please click here

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