Interview: Mohammed E Al Adwani
Which industrial activities present the most promising growth and investment opportunities, and what factors are driving demand?
MOHAMMED E AL ADWANI: Kuwait’s industrial sector has gone through a period of re-evaluation as a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this context, the PAI designed a strategy to address the country’s most pressing industrial needs, taking into account the raw materials available and existing production capacity. We focused our efforts on food production, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. As a result, Kuwait is now better prepared to face medical challenges.
In order to promote growth, Kuwait will continue its efforts to attract investment in industrial activities related to oil and gas, such as the chemical and petrochemical segments, and a continuously evolving and dynamic construction industry. In what ways are collaborations boosting financial support for industrial development?
AL ADWANI: Local financing entities have been supportive of Kuwait’s industrial development projects. The most important organisation in this regard is the Kuwait Industrial Bank (KIB), with which the PAI has built a solid partnership over the years. During the pandemic, KIB supported the industry by deferring loan fees. Other local banks have followed suit in recent years, helping to stabilise the sector. Banks understand the financial requirements of factories, as well as the impact of a temporary shutdown on margins and profits. Their contribution has been key in overcoming the various challenges of the lockdown period, which brought industrial activity to a halt.
Domestic banks have a growing appetite for industrial projects. Moving forwards, we remain confident that the local banking sector will further enhance its collaboration with the government and other economic stakeholders to support industrial development. The safety, stability and benefits these projects bring to the institution and the country have helped the industry gain the banking sector’s trust. The feasibility studies for each project – encompassing many aspects from the design stages to the project’s execution and completion – have also helped to attract local banks.
How are sustainable practices being implemented across industrial activities?
AL ADWANI: Kuwait’s progress in reducing emissions and increasing industrial capacity follows global efforts to boost sustainability. Thus, PAI aims to grant incentives to industrial entities that have acquired ISO 50001, which provides a framework for organisations developing a policy for more efficient use of energy.
As a country, we aim to utilise technologies that can help industrial activities become more sustainable in the long term. To this end, Kuwait has established strong ties with strategic partners across the globe. We look to diversify the sources of advanced technology to help the sector become more efficient and sustainable. Similarly, Kuwait recently launched its first industrial technology park, bringing together experts, consultants and researchers from various fields to develop innovative solutions to boost sustainable and environmentally friendly practices across manufacturing and industrial sites. It will also provide training and rehabilitation centres for the industrial sector, and some parts of the technology park will be allocated to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Kuwait’s first industrial techno-complex will help to improve productivity and production standards, resulting in higher-quality products that are manufactured locally. While we primarily aim to cater to the local petrochemicals, renewable energy and water segments, we will expand its reach to include all industrial and manufacturing communities. The PAI’s collaboration and cooperation with the Environment Public Authority ensures that all industrial projects meet environmental rules and regulations.