Interview: Abdulkarim Taqi
In what ways can the PAI collaborate with the private sector to develop Kuwait’s industrial parks?
ABDULKARIM TAQI: Supporting infrastructure for industrial parks is key to enabling a sustainable business environment. This includes building logistics capabilities, utilities, seaports, labour housing, free trade zones, schools and entertainment facilities. The PAI can collaborate with the private sector to address infrastructure needs by giving them the responsibility of developing and managing a ready-to-use industrial estate. This is particularly important as the largest challenge in establishing an industrial estate involves land scarcity. If we outsource the development and management of the land to the private sector with state support, we would not only reduce the burden on the government, but also add to the stock of residential units near industrial areas.
To this end, the PAI aims to further promote private sector investment. We have already encouraged build-operate-transfer schemes with a number of firms, such as Jawharat Al Fanar, which has a high level of experience in developing and managing industrial estates. Kuwait has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Development Bank to build and operate several industrial cities in Kuwait. The bank is providing the PAI with a consultancy study on the 76-sq-km Al Nayamm area regarding how to construct and manage the city. Such projects are expected to greatly contribute to achieving partnerships between the public and private sectors on a local and international level.
To what extent is environmental sustainability being integrated into industrial parks?
TAQI: The government encourages green development by being involved in the UN Development Programme, as well as by adhering to the UN’s seventh Millennium Development Goal to ensure environmental sustainability. At the PAI, any applicant for an industrial project must implement a return on environment study to both ensure the protection of open spaces and to verify that said project will bring significant financial, health and environmental advantages to the surrounding population.
The PAI also manages solid and liquid waste disposal. Sewage treatment plants are constructed in different industrial cities where waste is treated to produce water that can be used for irrigation purposes. We have also built an industrial waste processing plant to safely recycle industrial refuse. Additionally, the PAI is in the process of establishing recycling factories in Al Shaqaya. This would benefit Kuwait’s economy by turning waste into wealth as well as by reducing the pollution level. At the same time, the PAI aims to employ a set of principles focused on waste prevention to achieve a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy.
What opportunities do economic zones present for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to act as suppliers and ancillary businesses?
TAQI: To achieve sustainable economic growth for Kuwait, the PAI is launching a series of clusters in its industrial zones, which will have a significant positive impact on developing and identifying sustainable and stable industries. This is an opportunity for Kuwaiti SMEs to become high-value-added businesses. SMEs will be able to integrate into the value chain of larger establishments, which will strengthen forward and backward linkages between sectors and create opportunities for more diversified local economies. SMEs will be able to share knowledge, technology, research, human resources, product design, logistics, assembly, advertising and retailing. Moreover, the PAI established an Accreditation Affairs Section in 2013 to validate our laboratories. Having a national accreditation body will facilitate trade and enable local producers to export their products more easily.
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