USQBC Managing Director Speaks about PPPs at CG/LA Forum in Washington

On March 9th, USQBC’s Managing Director, Mohammed Barakat, participated in a panel discussion at CG/LA’s 9th Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum here in Washington, DC. The panel was titled “Mega Projects and Public-Private Partnerships: Overview in the Middle East.” Ziad Zacca of Booz Allen Hamilton moderated the panel, and panelists included Mohanud Helal of the Saudi Arabian Economic Cities Authority, Jeremy Shulman of Aconex, and Tom Teerlynck of ACWA Power. Mr. Barakat discussed USQBC’s role in enhancing PPPs in Qatar, namely, via communication. Several panelists brought up the issue of communication between the many stakeholders involved in PPPs and how USQBC works to facilitate better communication, especially between the government and investors. Qatar’s government-led initiatives were also brought up during Mr. Barakat’s discussion. He pointed out several initiatives like Manateq and Qatar Financial Center, where the Qatari government is actively creating the space and infrastructure for the private sector to thrive in the country. Manateq and Qatar Financial City are economic zones that allow foreign private investors to establish themselves within Connecting the government to the private sector by providing adequate tools for enterprise is a key step towards establishing a formal framework for PPPs going forward. He also highlighted Qatar’s longstanding relationship with PPPs. Though developing a directorate and a framework for formalized PPP agreements going forward is something new to Qatar, and fairly new to the region, the State’s oil & gas industries were brought about via PPPs. US oil majors were the first private investor alongside Qatar Petroleum and the Qatari government. PPPs are not something new to the State and this point goes to show the possibilities a formalized framework may offer for investors going forward. This panel discussion offered potential investors further insight into the Qatari market, and furthered the dialogue about how PPPs might fit into the economies of the Gulf. Many of USQBC’s members are involved or may become involved in PPPs in the region, and understanding the current environment is critical.