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Valentina Pasquali

Construction and real estate editor

Valentina Pasquali came to Dubai from Washington DC where she covered US real estate for Law360, a LexisNexis news website. She has written about global business, banking regulation, international affairs, US politics, and more for publications including Foreign Policy, the Washington Post and

Valentina Pasquali
A residential complex in Dubai after last month's flooding. 'Backlogs of work increased considerably in April,' said S&P

Flooding dents UAE business confidence but optimism remains

Business and consumer confidence in the UAE was hamstrung by last month’s heavy rain and flooding, leading to the slowest increase in orders since February 2023, according to a business sentiment survey published on Friday. Private business activity in the non-oil sector still showed significant growth in April amid a “robust” economic landscape and the […]

Al Maktoum International

Dubai’s airport ambitions ramp up local and global rivalries

Dubai’s plan for a massive new airport intensifies the regional aviation race, while reinforcing the Gulf’s bid to overshadow its European and Asian rivals. The emirate’s authorities over the weekend approved the expansion of the cargo-focused Al Maktoum International into an airport ultimately capable of handling 260 million passengers a year.  The new airport will […]

Construction work at Egypt's new administrative capital. Real estate 'is a very strong inflation hedge', says Aldar's Faisal Falaknaz

Aldar’s Egyptian sales unhindered by war and economic risk

Real estate developer Aldar says geopolitical and economic volatility is not affecting its expansion in Egypt. The Abu Dhabi-listed company acquired its Egyptian subsidiary Sodic in December 2021. Since then, sales have risen by more than 50 percent on a dollar-basis, Faisal Falaknaz, Aldar’s chief finance and sustainability officer, told reporters on Monday.  “What has […]

Dubai residents receive help from volunteers as they evacuate their flooded homes

Flooding puts spotlight on Dubai’s population growth

Extensive flooding caused by the historic April 16 storm highlights the challenges the Dubai authorities face as they work on increasing the population by 2.5 million people by 2040. With an increasingly erratic climate, the key for local authorities will be managing that growth closely, industry professionals told AGBI.  “The growth in itself is not […]

Rain falling on paved surfaces such as roads has nowhere to go, but retrofitting roads to allow rainwater harvesting could help, some experts say

Rain harvesting could help Dubai offset a stormy future

If last week’s floods made improving drainage a necessity for Dubai, the reward might come in the form of more natural water resources, provided the emirate can boost rain harvesting efforts, industry observers tell AGBI. “The main idea for countries, especially in drier areas, is to try to reuse water as much as possible,” says […]

A flooded residential area in Dubai. New drainage infrastructure should be nature-based, say experts

Concrete or sponge? Dubai’s post-flooding options

In the wake of last week’s floods, retrofitting Dubai with traditional, concrete-based drainage systems would be expensive, time-consuming and complicated. As an alternative, authorities should look to nature-based solutions, industry professionals told AGBI. “Dubai should not repeat the mistakes that have been made in most of the Western world,” said Ronny Berndtsson, professor in water […]

Riyadh's Majdoul Tower under construction. Saudi Arabia is trying to improve regulations around contracts and payments in the sector

Saudi Arabia pushes to end construction payment issues

The construction industry in Saudi Arabia is still plagued by payment delays but the kingdom has made significant efforts to improve workflow among developers, contractors and subcontractors to resolve what is a global problem. Cash flow and payment problems trigger claims or disputes in more than a third of all projects in the kingdom. This […]

Saudi construction delay Video length: 06:07

Big events take priority for stretched Saudi builders

There will be delays in delivering Saudi Arabia’s massive construction pipeline in time for 2030, but projects directly linked to specific international events such as the Asian Winter Games in 2029 will take priority, industry players told AGBI at the Big5 conference in Riyadh last week. About $1 trillion in giga-projects are under way across […]

Oman's new economic zone will span more than 20 sq km

Foreign expertise vital for Saudi construction

Saudi Arabia’s construction industry needs more foreign involvement if achieving its Vision 2030 goals is to become a reality, according to attendees of the Big 5 conference in Riyadh. In the first half of 2023 alone $44 billion worth of new projects were awarded in the kingdom’s $140 billion construction sector, according to real estate […]

A tourist with an arabian foal at Alhazm stud, Khubash, Saudi Arabia. 106m tourists visited the kingdom last year

Saudi Arabia hits tourism target seven years early

More than 106 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia last year, surpassing the kingdom’s 2030 target and prompting it to set a new goal of welcoming 150 million annual visitors by the end of the decade, according to the Ministry of Tourism. Achieving the milestone target of the Vision 2030 economic roadmap seven years early cements […]

A worker on a construction site in Riyadh. Foreign companies with offices in Saudi Arabia have adapted to supply chain disruptions

Localisation shields Saudi builders from Red Sea crisis

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea may have been disrupting the construction supply chain into Saudi Arabia but companies, in particular larger ones, are adapting to the challenge.  Since November, the Yemeni militia has launched dozens of attacks on commercial vessels on their way to or from the Suez Canal, forcing many global shippers to […]

Downtown Dubai has long been popular with property buyers. Now other districts are attracting interest too

A moment of calm after two hectic years for UAE real estate

Dubai’s real estate market reported record growth in 2023, but analysts are predicting slower price rises and a steady supply next year. “Demand is very, very strong and has driven up prices,” said Taimur Khan, head of Middle East research at consultancy CBRE. For 2024, he is predicting “a contraction in the total number of […]

Contractors cite the $4.9bn expansion of the Dubai Metro as one reason for confidence

Contractors upbeat despite Dubai real estate warning

The mood was decidedly upbeat at the Big 5 construction conference in Dubai this week, despite recent warnings that the emirate’s real estate sector will slacken next year. Dubai residential property prices rose nearly 17 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2023, the fastest pace in nearly a decade. But a senior S&P Global […]

Construction project delays in the Middle East average more than 22 months

Project overruns remain but payment issues improving

Delays in construction project timelines and payments remain a concern in the Gulf. However, things seem to be on the up on the payment side at least, multiple industry professionals said during the Big 5 Global conference in Dubai this week. The larger Middle East region suffers from some of the worst project overruns in […]

A worker looks out at Riyadh from a tower under construction in the city

Big 5 builders seek answers to Saudi’s $1.5trn question

Saudi Arabia’s mammoth pipeline of giga-projects was the focus of the Big 5 Global conference in Dubai this week, as the region’s main construction players discussed how to juggle fast-approaching 2030 deadlines with the kingdom’s push for sustainable development. Saudi Arabia has signed off on $78 billion of construction projects so far this year, up […]

low carbon building code

Concrete institute launching low carbon building code

The American Concrete Institute is unveiling what it claims is the first-ever low carbon building code at the Cop28 climate conference. Building codes are a set of rules that standardise the construction process. They have historically focused on safety and serviceability, but must now address sustainability needs, Antonio Nanni, a professor at the University of […]

Partanna carbon negative concrete, rick fox, green concrete, low carbon concrete

How Mena is moving to sustainable construction

The year is 2065 and humans are living in space, in villas of celestial materials mined from asteroids and equipped with infinity pools.  Far-fetched? Perhaps, but this model was one of dozens featured last month in an exhibition on the past, present and future of sustainable design in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena). […]