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Report | The Report: Kuwait 2022

The economy of Kuwait has long been underpinned by the production and export of crude oil. Although the rise in energy prices in 2021-22 boosted government revenue and macroeconomic stability, the Covid-19 pandemic, which preceded the commodity price boom, underscored the risk of over-reliance on an industry subject to fluctuating global demand. This has created fresh impetus for economic diversification, with robust public finances providing a strong platform to...

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Chapter | Banking from The Report:Syria 2024 Test Version

An easing of disruptions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, a sustained increase in oil and gas receipts, and the rollout of a new law providing a framework for establishing digital offerings have given Kuwait’s banking sector renewed confidence that has been supported by the country’s wider economic recovery. Indeed, with real GDP returning to growth in 2021 and expected by the IMF to reach as high as 8.7% in 2022, credit and profitability look set to see further expansion. The sector is notable for its high liquidity and strong capitalisation, both of which helped it navigate the uncertainties associated with the pandemic and other global headwinds. Government-led pandemic amelioration and recovery measures helped support depositors and banks, a trend reinforced by the stable rate of deposits from the retail sector and government-related entities observed during the second half of 2021. This chapter contains an interview with Basel Al Haroon, Governor, Central Bank of Kuwait, and a dialogue with Sheikh Ahmad Duaij Jaber Al Sabah, Chairman, Commercial Bank of Kuwait; and George Richani, CEO, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait.

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Kuwait 2022

While it is common knowledge that laws in the Middle East include restrictions on foreign parties doing business that do not apply to citizens, progress has been made in recent years to facilitate foreign investment and participation in businesses in the region. Kuwait was a pioneer in this regard, with the promulgation of the Foreign Direct Investment Law in 2014, which has since been replicated in one form or another by several other countries. Despite these steps, there continue to be restrictions on the participation of international investors and owners in Kuwaiti companies. The government has worked in recent years to address this, both procedurally and substantively.

This chapter contains an interview with Ezekiel Tuma, Partner, ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners.

Chapter | Education & Health from The Report: Kuwait 2022

With one of the largest relative youth cohorts in the Gulf – the share of the population under 35 stood at 50% as of 2022 – Kuwait has a vested interest in achieving positive learning and health outcomes for nationals and foreign residents alike. As was the case around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic posed specific and immediate challenges for educators and medical workers in the country, which the government is working to address in parallel with ongoing efforts to achieve the development targets set by New Kuwait 2035, the long-term development roadmap launched in 2017. The so-called education gap experienced after many young students were forced to adjust to online learning virtually overnight is a particular concern for policymakers, and a mix of in-person and online solutions are being explored to help learners catch up.

This chapter contains an interview with Thamer Arab, CEO, Dhaman.

Chapter | ICT from The Report: Kuwait 2022

Technology development is central to Kuwait’s long-term plans to diversify the economy, with the government attempting to position the country as a regional leader in ICT and financial services. The competition in those spaces across the GCC is fierce, and countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia are making concerted investment in ICT infrastructure and financial technology. The highly competitive local telecommunications market is proving beneficial to Kuwait’s plans, as is the country’s active and engaged consumer market, particularly in the mobile sector. Consolidation has been a trend in recent years as major tech players move to strengthen their market positions and diversify their services.

This chapter contains an interview Maziad Alharbi, CEO, stc Kuwait.

Chapter | Industry from The Report: Kuwait 2022

Kuwait’s economy relies heavily on hydrocarbons-related industries, and while plans are in place to transition to more renewable sources, medium-term development strategies will see oil and gas extraction, processing and capacities ramped up, with the revenue channelled into the government’s industrial diversification drive. Downstream chemicals and petrochemicals production forms the backbone of Kuwait’s non-oil industrial output, and major capacity-expansion projects are planned. The years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic brought significant growth for the manufacturing sector, with the government announcing its decision to make more land available for industrial activities to increase sector momentum and cater to growing demand. The government’s portfolio of proposed mega-projects is designed to invigorate cross-sector growth, with a strong focus on manufacturing and logistics, including the implementation of a number of dedicated industrial and economic zones. 

This chapter contains an interview with Mohammed E Al Adwani, Director-General, Public Authority for Industry.

Chapter | Construction & Real Estate from The Report: Kuwait 2022

Kuwait’s construction and real estate sectors rebounded in the years preceding the Covid-19 pandemic, following the 2017 unveiling of New Kuwait 2035, the government’s overarching development blueprint, which heralded an extensive infrastructure pipeline. This sparked growth in construction activity, and saw a host of new residential and commercial properties enter the market.
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