Tighter money supply and fiscal policies could encourage technology adoption to help project owners and contractors mitigate risks such as time and cost overruns.

Due to the market being traditionally cost-sensitive, many schemes in the region have primarily focused on construction and procurement costs, with lower priority assigned to the ongoing costs once a project becomes operational. Time and cost overruns have also become more common in schemes across various sectors in the region.

“Smaller margins will require renewed focus on efficiency not only during construction but more so during the operations phase of a project,” Steve Cockerell, industry marketing director for rail at US architecture and engineering software firm Bentley Systems, tells MEED.

The growing need to attract private sector participation in delivering and operating public infrastructure projects, in view of falling liquidity, could further expedite the adoption of software that helps manage data as a project moves from the design phase to operations.

For one, banks and lenders usually require a high level of transparency and due diligence in every phase of project execution prior to releasing funding.

“Project owners are starting to take in… that there is a cost to not doing the right work at the right time,” says Cockerell.

There are more than $200bn-worth of rail schemes planned across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.