Multiple Investment Opportunities for Investors as GCC Waste Management Sector Experience Dynamic Change

Waste is becoming a major issue in the GCC region, as well as in many developing countries globally. In the past, many countries have been dealing with Waste through a simple mechanism of landfills, this was workable in the past, but is not workable in the future, based on specific trends relating to: increasing population and urbanization, resulting in a need to do more with land, and avoid losing the opportunity by dumping waste, increasing social awareness & increasing concerns globally and in the region relating to the environment damage, and the emanating potential of waste as a source of energy/ recycled materials, owing to more advancements in technology which has led to a need to do things differently.

In view, Frost & Sullivan – a growth partnership company which works with clients to accelerate growth by providing them with outlooks in diverse sectors and develop effective solutions that tackles global challenges and its associated opportunities, stays at the forefront on trends and changes in various sectors of businesses, and in many instances, even predicts such developments. In line with the company’s ongoing research on the combined sectors of Environment and Energy, Frost & Sullivan believe that ‘the changing dynamics of the GCC waste management market’ is an important category to address, and hence conducted a study which provide detailed analysis on the investment and other related sector of the GCC waste management sector. The company during an interview indicated that they are very committed to helping businesses to attain best levels in growth, innovation, and leadership.

Aside the obvious information this study will provide for business men within the sector of Environmental and Waste Management, Mr. Abhay Bhargava – the Associate Director and Regional Head (Middle East) for Energy & Environment Practice at Frost & Sullivan, said in an interview with our reporter Joshua Amponsem (Africa Business Magazine) that “the intended purpose is to highlight the fact that the waste industry in the GCC is set to undergo a disruption, and ‘business-as-usual’ is not going to work. The study is to showcase to the industry how the market will change, what is driving the change, and what is the impact on the market participants”.  “It is also to increase awareness for the market participants on what to expect from the industry, especially in terms of untapped opportunities, in the future”, he added.

Globally, the GCC region is continuously expressing commitment towards sustainable development. Waste Management sector is fast growing within the region as well and the Frost and Sullivan study gives an outlook in how the market will be like – in terms of growth for the next decade.

Total waste generation in the generation is set to rise from 94 million Metric Tons in 2015 to about 120 million Metric Tons in 2020. According to the study, municipalities in the region is not braced to handle such volume of waste. Current strategies, mainly landfill, will not be enough and thus other solutions needs to be welcomed into the sector. Saudi Arabia and UAE will marginally be responsible for the rise in waste in the region. Considering the energy provision targets of the region, it is essential to integrate new methodologies – mainly “trash to cash” strategies not limited to recycling, in handling waste to the region. Source separation of waste needs to be enhanced to limit the quantity of waste that ends up at landfill sites. This will go a long way to help recovery of valuable materials which could serve as raw materials to other manufacturing sectors if separation is done properly. As it stands now, waste in GCC is majorly municipal waste and construction waste. However, management should expect a swift introduction of e-waste, and hazardous waste management into their schemes. These sources of waste, including bio-medical waste will need robust eco-friendly measures in its management.

According to the study which focus on the changing dynamics of waste management in the GCC region, potential market growth of the sector could steadily rise to about 1.5 – 2 by 2020. Also, such an increase is possible to displace the current chain of waste management limited collection and transport, while providing an opportunity for new and rising measures of waste management. Companies that works to provide solutions in the area of waste separation, municipal waste treatment and recycling, trash to cash, biogas, and waste utilization to generate energy, should be prepared to welcome and best access the opportunities ahead of them. Also, equipment manufacturers for waste management solutions are also to expect high demand for boilers, incinerators, flue-gas treatment systems, geo-membrane liners, and recycling plant machinery.

During the interview with our reporter, Mr. Abhay Bhargava said that, “Frost and Sullivan has currently analyzed the market for Middle East and North Africa only. In this broader region, investors are best advised to look at Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates as target countries for waste management and waste to energy investments”. He also highlighted that there is an urgent need for technological advancements and know-how, as well as skills development to meet the changing sector of the region.