The story of Kuwait’s economy, like so many of its neighbours, has been dominated by oil and, before that, by pearling and fishing, so it is little surprise that Kuwait Vision 2035 draws on the country’s trading past to secure its future. Large-scale infrastructure projects and increased private sector participation in the local economy should help the country navigate challenging external economic conditions.
When I wrote three months ago about why the economic changes afoot in the Gulf region have taken on a whole new urgency in “The challenge of change: And why it matters this time”, my analysis was very much framed against a background of anything but business as usual.
The results of OBG’s recent survey of C-suite executives in Kuwait show a largely positive outlook: indeed, the majority have positive expectations of business conditions and plan to make a capital investment within the next year. However, downplaying the role of the state in terms of revenue generation and developing the private sector into a more significant engine of growth is increasingly pressing, and high levels of government spending on infrastructure and reform programmes are working towards these goals.