By Daniel Hunter

Following the success of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, British businesses are in pole position to offer their expertise in the delivery of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

This was a message that was emphasised by a panel of industry experts, including UKTI’s Qatar Infrastructure lead, Tony Bartho, at a recent UKTI-RICS conference in London.

As part of a proposed $140bn capital spend on infrastructure over the next 10 years, the Qatar Government has announced a huge programme of development projects, including: new highways; a metro and overland rail network (the Big Qatar Rail Development Program); new water and drainage systems; a new bay crossing in Doha; and major ports including the Hammed International Airport.

The scale of the infrastructure ambition is enormous, consequently the professional expertise required to successfully deliver the plans needs to ramp up significantly according to RICS Middle East Director, Robert Jackson.

“The Qatar Government is determined to use the 2022 World Cup as a catalyst for its wider ‘2030 vision’," he said.

"However, whilst Qatar’s ambition and financial leverage is plentiful, the number of professionals on the ground equipped to deliver the infrastructure needed is currently insufficient.

"As a result, international expertise in the form of large businesses and smaller, niche practices are starting to move into the market, capitalising on the wealth of opportunities that are beginning to emerge as projects are now starting to be released at an increased pace."

Qatar was the richest country in the world per capita in 2012 according to the IMF and is expected to invest heavily in developing its infrastructure between now and 2030. The Gulf state’s ambitious development programme will focus initially on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, including the delivery of 21 new hotels and 89 new sports training facilities for teams.

“Many of the skills needed in Qatar are ones that UK professionals have in abundance” says Mark Rudman MRICS, Regional Director for Faithful & Gould in Qatar.

“The London Olympic and Paralympic Games were acknowledged around the world to be one of the best in Games history from a planning and delivery perspective. The value of practical and recent expertise in the delivery of the 2012 Games places a premium on services provided by UK professionals, such as project management; cost consultancy; planning and procurement."

And it is not just large firms that are lining up to export their services. Through UKTI’s presence in Qatar, small and medium sized businesses in the UK are having their names mentioned in the offices of government and private sector firm contractors that are tendering infrastructure projects. For many smaller firms, joint ventures are making the opportunity a reality.

Amongst the advice shared with attendees at the conference, UKTI’s Tony Bartho stressed the importance of accurate market knowledge and relationships, which need to be fostered carefully and with awareness to local business and cultural practices.

From an RICS perspective, the growing international awareness and demand for construction and infrastructure professionals is not just enhancing the reputation of Chartered Surveyors but establishing their qualification as a passport to export opportunities around the world.

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