Kuwait concludes investment forum on high note: Full steam ahead
The youth in Kuwait are catalyzing the nation towards a full-fledged knowledge economy, that in turn contributes to increased investment, cross-border collaboration and the creation of a thriving innovation ecosystem, said Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin – Director-General, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) at the Kuwait Investment Forum (KIF 2018).
Emphasizing role of KFAS, Dr. Shihab-Eldin said that the government plays a key role in promoting and advancing science, and initiatives such as the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center and the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, which form Kuwait’s new national cultural district, help position Kuwaiti youth on par with their peers globally.
“These initiatives will also help drive increased participation of Kuwaiti workforce in the private sector,” Dr. Shihab-Eldin said.
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Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, Minister of Finance, said Kuwait has achieved significant milestones in global rankings, improving from rank 90 to 59 in wastefulness of government spending, from 75 to 62 in quality of market regulation and from 108 to 90 in the burden of government regulation, as per the Global Competitiveness Report 2017/18.
He also highlighted Kuwait’s improved its ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report from 102 to 96, while Moody’s has rated the country’s credit rating at AA2 stable.
Minster of Commerce and Industry Khaled Nasser Al-Roudan said 29 foreign companies established in the country helped attracted $2.4bn, creating 1,000 jobs for Nationals in 11 different business sectors.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs, said Kuwait is keen to strengthen its security and stability because that serves as the incubator for prosperity and development.
He said Kuwait’s foreign policy is characterized by moderation and stability, as one of its main pillars is “preventive diplomacy,” as well as in resolving disputes.
Kuwait has played mediator in the ongoing GCC rift between Qatar and a quartet of nations: Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt.
Highlights of the progress report
-Facilitating ease of starting a business: an increase in the number of companies with limited liability growing from 5,621 in 2016 to 9,682 in 2017 ~nearly double.
-Al-Shaqaya Renewable Energy Complex aims to increase the capacity available for power plants; total completion rate of the project is 80% and is due to be completed in 2022.
-Olefins-Aromatics complex at Al-Zour Refinery to enhance the status of the petrochemical industry in Kuwait and diversify the company’s products by adding specialized products. The goal is to produce 945,000 tonnes per year of polypropylene, 1.4 million tonnes of aromatic paraxylene; and 421,000 tonnes of benzene; among others. The overall achievement of the project is 8.6% and is due to be completed in 2023
-Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co (KIPIC) to expand production to 615,000 barrels per day; scheduled for completion in 2020
-Clean Fuels Project, an overhaul of the Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries, will increase oil production and development of reserves; returns on investment on the project is expected at 11.5%; total completion of the project now at 84.8%
-Sheikh Jaber Causeway will serve as a link between Kuwait City and Sabiya, reducing traffic jam; overall achievement at 83.6%
-Mubarak Al Kabeer Port to have 24 berths and capacity of 8.1 million TEUs; 51.5% completed
-Kuwait International Airport expansion scheduled to welcome 25 million annual visitors
-75% progress achieved in the Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Plant