The GCC region is expected to spend more than $90 billion on education-related construction projects by the end of 2014, according to a report.
This high spending makes the education sector one of the biggest for contractors and suppliers with the population in the GCC forecast to increase from 50.6 million in 2014 to 55.8 million by 2018, according to a report by Ventures Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has emerged as the biggest investor in education in the region with an expected spending of $56 billion, the report stated.
The country will construct 465 new schools and refurbish 1,500, alongside 1,544 existing school construction projects. It is also building eight new colleges and new vocational and technical facilities.
Kuwait comes next with an allocation of $10.5 billion for the education sector (about 14 per cent of its 2013-14 annual budget) followed by Qatar which has set aside $7.2 billion, up 7.3 per cent over the previous year, the report said.
In the UAE, $2.6 billion or about 21 per cent of its 2014 budget is being spent on schools and all new buildings, according to the report.
Oman has announced plans to spend $6.8 billion, about 18.6 per cent of the total public expenditure, to provide free basic education to all its nationals, while Bahrain has allocated $2.2 billion for the fiscal year 2013-14.
The report was compiled by Ventures Middle East for The Big 5 show, which opens in Dubai, UAE, this month (See Special Preview).
“There are huge business opportunities for suppliers who understand the education sector. The GCC has a young demographic and governments are investing heavily in education,” stated Andy White, the event director for The Big 5.