April 11 - Qatar's set to spend more than $125 billion in the next five years on construction ahead of the country's turn to host the World Cup in 2022. Sarah Mills reports.
Qatar's skyline looks like this now, but it's set for a major facelift. Last year's announcement that the Gulf State will host the World Cup in 2022 has kick started a construction drive. Over the next 4 years the country's government will spend 40 percent of it's budget on infrastructure projects. Abdulrahman Najjar is Deputy CEO of Ezdan Real Estate. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ABDULRAHMAN AL NAJJAR, DEPUTY CEO OF EZDAN REAL ESTATE: "We don't think the infrastructure sector is facing any obstacles. The state's budget in 2011-2012 was one of the largest ever submitted, but the one for 2012-2013 is expected to be a lot bigger. But we see a difficulty in the timing of the projects, because we will witness a huge amount of work in a very limited period". With a budget of 125 billion US dollars, there are major changes coming. A new international airport costing around 11 billion dollars will be built and there are plans for a deep water seaport. As for hotel capacity, the aim is to reach 30,000 rooms by 2013 with an additional 5,000 by the World Cup. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ABDULRAHMAN AL NAJJAR, DEPUTY CEO OF EZDAN REAL ESTATE: "I don't see there is a specific timing or date for World Cup projects but the government will be launching them on different phases, because they cannot be initiated all at once due to their large scale. I would say projects must be ready by 2018-2019 at the latest so the right timing is to start five to six years ahead". Some projects have already been completed. The Aspire Dome and Academy for Sports in Doha an example of the shape of things to come. Despite early success, the plans are ambitious and there is a lot to be done before the FIFA tournament brings the World's media to town. Sarah Mills, Reuters