Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al Sabah, Director-General, Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Agency (KDIPA) : Interview

What sectors are able to offer new opportunities for bankable investment projects?

SHEIKH MESHAAL JABER AL SABAH: Kuwait continues to offer numerous investment opportunities with its dynamic project pipeline in key sectors like energy, oil and gas, ICT, industry, urban development, transport and logistics, among others. Key investment opportunities in these sectors were highlighted at KDIPA’s flagship promotional event in its second edition – Kuwait Investment Forum (KIF 2018) – which revealed the multibillion-dollar Northern Gulf Gateway development project, which incorporates the Silk City project and will provide further potential for investment in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors. This is in addition to connecting to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which will extend to neighbouring countries in the region and other Gulf states, connecting Kuwait to Central Asia, and via Asia to the rest of the world. KIF 2018 also served as a venue to host an exclusive special feature on the status of New Kuwait by top officials, who presented an update on the progress of the projects conducted under the current development plan. The achievements of New Kuwait were highlighted under seven pillars: Effective Government; Diverse and Sustainable Economy; Quality Infrastructure; Sustainable Living Communities; Quality Health Care; Innovative Human Capital; and Prominent International Position.

In line with global trends Kuwait has committed to investing more in renewables, smart cities, ICT and innovation-based industries, nurturing competitive clusters in these sectors and paving the way for it to become a more knowledge-based economy, driven by its private sector and talented youth. In January 2018 the IMF commended the government’s recent efforts to streamline current spending, diversify revenues and improve the business climate, which sends a message to the global business community about its attractiveness as an investment hub.

How is policy being developed to encourage long-term investment and private sector growth?

AL SABAH: Kuwait’s investment and business climates have been on a steady course, reflecting the commitment and seriousness of the government to improve its business environment and enhance transparency by implementing required reforms and utilising e-transactions, online services, e-links and one-stop shops. The national effort to improve the business climate culminated in formulating the national agenda for streamlining business environment in Kuwait (Tahseen Programme), conducted under the Permanent Committee for Streamlining Business Environment and Enhancing Competitiveness in the State of Kuwait, and headed by KDIPA, who is assigned to coordinate national reform efforts with the relevant government entities, private sector and civil society organisations.

Accordingly, the Tahseen Portal was launched to disseminate information efficiently and timely pertaining to decisions, laws, procedures, regulations and other measures that contribute to reducing time, duration and cost of doing business in order to achieve the required impact on improving Kuwait’s business environment to be more in line with international best practices.

KDIPA fosters its advocacy role further by providing a direct channel and constant support through a series of open dialogues between the public and private sectors to depict potential obstacles, receive suggestions and address them collaboratively. Furthermore, KDIPA adopts a full facilitation paradigm based on investor services to encourage business retention and expansion.

The goal of such initiatives underline that the country is moving in the right direction with reforms put in place to support the developmental goals, particularly to enhance economic diversification and secure a prosperous, sustainable future.

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Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al Sabah

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The Report: Kuwait 2018

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