Mena Construction Industry Leads to Massive Demand for Natural Stone. The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) construction industry is leading to a massive demand for the application of natural stone in interior and exterior design. The GCC alone accounts for 20% of the global stone market, creating a regional market estimated about US$5 billion-a-year, which is expected to create a demand for 19.6 billion metric tons of stone by 2020. This year’s Middle East Stone Expo, the premier B2B event for the natural stone, marble and ceramics industry was held recently at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Durable stone such as granite and marble from Brazil, Italy, and Turkey were the centerpiece of international pavilions during the event. Leading stone trade and supplier associations from Portugal, Greece, Turkey, India, and China also took part in the expo. Gianpaolo Bruno, Trade Commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan for the Italian Trade Agency believes that the perception of stone as a luxury material and recent association with sustainability has secured its position as the desired product.
Stone is the world’s oldest building material, which has been continued using in old and new structures where the use of natural stone is more associated with sustainable and environmentally friendly building concepts. Furthermore, many economies have emerged as new producers in the global arena where the demand for natural stone is spurring. During the exhibition, as well as the Stone Conference, one of the major aims was to educate delegates on the impact natural stone can have. From architecture through to construction, there is a large variety of stone available that could be applied in both interior and exterior designs of residential and commercial projects.