Complex Made Simple

Qatar emerges as built asset wealth world leader per capita

Qataris replace Singaporeans as the richest built asset population, with a built asset wealth of US$ 198,000 per capita

Qatar has become the world’s richest country per capita measured by the value of its built environment according to the latest Global Built Asset Wealth Index published by Arcadis, the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets.

Qatar has become a global leader, toppling Singapore as the most asset rich country per capita, with built assets of US$198,000 for every citizen.

The index, which was compiled for Arcadis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), calculates the value of all the buildings and infrastructure that contribute to economic productivity in 32 countries, which collectively make up 87% of global GDP.

“The health and wealth of a nation can be measured in many different ways and while factors such as GDP or employment have great value, a prosperous society is underpinned by a well-developed built environment that meets the needs of its people and economy,” said Alan Richell, Head of Business Advisory in the Middle East at Arcadis. “Today, Qatar has the fastest growing construction industry in the GCC, rapidly expanding at an annual rate of 18%, and this is expected to continue for the next decade. This growth will be underpinned by a number of large investments in infrastructure programs,” he added.

Qatar and Singapore stand comfortably ahead of the pack on built assets per capita, at US$198,000 and US$192,000 respectively. The countries near the top of this ranking are disproportionately made up of smaller nations, either by population or area, so the density of the built asset stock is much greater per resident. The UAE for example also came in high at number five with a strong built asset per capita at US $140,500, whereas Saudi Arabia has a smaller built asset stock per capita, at US$107,000 where its built asset wealth is spread amongst its large and growing population.

Richell commented: “The 2022 FIFA World Cup and Qatar’s 2030 National Vision are driving huge infrastructure investments over the next ten years. These include plans for further investment in transport infrastructure, water and electricity in the next five years, by 2020. Qatar’s total built asset stock has grown 677% since 2000 and will continue to grow at double digit levels for the foreseeable future.”

Total built asset wealth globally now stands at an estimated US$218 trillion, which is the equivalent to US$30,700 per person alive today. The stock of built assets is closely correlated with a nation’s economic output. On average, countries analyzed have a built asset stock worth 2.9 times GDP. China now has a built asset wealth of US$47.6trillion, overtaking the USA which comes in second place with a wealth of US$36.8trillion. On a regional basis, Saudi Arabia has a built asset wealth of US$ 3.15 trillion, while the UAE and Qatar rank respectively at US$ 1.33 trillion and US$ 0.45 trillion.

Richell continued: “The Global Built Asset Wealth Index shows a dramatic shift of wealth to emerging economies. Saudi Arabia and the UAE will continue to climb due to their especially high rates of investment. Whilst still heavily dependent on oil and gas export, the GCC states have used resource revenues to make initial steps towards diversification of their economies in sectors such as tourism, financial services and education.”