Kuwait’s economy is famously based on its natural resources, including 8.2% of the world’s oil reserves and around 1% of global gas reserves. The economy is therefore inextricably linked to the price of oil and will remain so for the medium term at least. However, in recent times oil revenues have surged, and together with strong public finances and a young and growing population, the country’s GDP rose 5.7% in 2011. The non-oil economy accounted for 55% of GDP in 2009, a figure the government seeks to increase to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons. Going forward, another key government target is the growth of the private sector’s contribution to the economy, with some $133bn worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade – as part of the National Development Plan (NDP) – to be implemented by public-private schemes. Moreover, 80% of NDP projects are slated for non-hydrocarbons industries.
This chapter includes interviews with Minister of Finance Mustafa Al Shamali; Abdalla Salem El Badri, Secretary-General, OPEC; Faisal Hamad Al Ayyar, Vice-Chairman, Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO); and Moritz Kraemer, Managing Director and Head of EMEA Sovereign Ratings, Standard & Poor’s.