Kuwait seeks to boost foreign investment, PPPs in new 2035 development plan

The country also intends to develop its tourism sector, become a petrochemical hub and reform its education and healthcare sectors



Kuwait has announced plans to boost foreign direct investment, become a petrochemical hub and develop infrastructure through public private partnerships under its 2035 development plan, announced yesterday.

The ‘Vision 2035’ includes 164 programmes, projects and initiatives designed to make the country into a regional financial, cultural and institutional leader.

Among the short-to-medium term objectives are to position Kuwait as a global hub for the petrochemical industry, boost foreign investment by 300 per cent and attract more than KD400m ($1.3bn) of investment to IT services and renewable energy.

The country also intends to develop its tourism sector to generate new revenues and create jobs, invest in infrastructure projects and develop its transport and power sectors using the independent water and power producers (IWPP) and public private partnership (PPP) models.

Reuters reports the country aims to conduct its first initial public offering of shares in an independent power project by the end of this year, selling a 50 per cent stake.

The government previously said it planned to sell shares in the 1,500MW Az-Zour North Independent Water & Power Project, which is 40 per cent owned by France’s Engie, Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and Kuwaiti firm AH Al Sagar & Brothers, to the public in mid-2017, according to the newswire.

Other elements of ‘Vision 2035 include new master plan developments and cities, social and economic programmes targeting young people, women, SMEs and the elderly and seek to boost its humanitarian record.

The plan is centred on seven pillars including public administration, economy, infrastructure, living environment, healthcare, human capital and global position.

These envision reforming administrative and bureaucratic practices to increase transparency and efficiency, diversifying the economy to reduce dependence on oil, developing and modernising national infrastructure, building environmentally friendly homes and improving the quality of the national healthcare system.

Other goals include reforming the education system to make young people more competitive and productive in the workforce and expanding Kuwait’s regional and global presence in diplomacy, trade, culture and philanthropy.

Within the plan are 20 global indicators and other sub indicators to track the country’s progress.

Kuwait is aiming to be positioned in the top 35 per cent of each of these indicators by 2035.

The country, like its Gulf peers, has been hit hard by the drop in oil prices and last year posted its first budget deficit after 16 years of surpluses.

It has predicted a $25.9bn budget deficit for the new fiscal year, starting in April.

Read: Kuwait projects $25.9bn budget deficit next fiscal year

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