The Gulf countries have announced $125 billion of new projects during the first half of 2019. While spending has been rising and falling quarter-to-quarter over the past few years, the long-term trend is upward since 2014. Around half of the latest spending increase is on construction contracts - a 33 percent increase compared to last year – including within the oil and gas sector, which was allocated $29 billion this year (an increase of over 200 percent on the same period in 2018). Although investment in construction supports or spawns a range of economic sectors in line with diversification plans, this investment does not fall directly under the Gulf countries’ long-term economic plans, outlined in a variety of “Vision” strategies. Is this volume of spending a good idea, and to what extent is it consistent with the Gulf countries’ economic strategies?
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