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Amir attends, patronizes Kuwait Investment Forum 2018

Islands’ development to spark employment boom: Sheikh Nasser

KUWAIT: (From left) Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Executive Vice President of Government Operations of the Boeing Company US Timothy Keating and Omar Al-Ghanem; CEO of Al-Ghanem Industries and Chairman of Gulf Bank attend the first session of the Kuwait Investment Forum yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat and Amiri Diwan

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attended and patronized yesterday the second Kuwait Investment Forum, which is held at Al-Tahrir Hall in Bayan Palace. His Highness the Amir was received upon his arrival by Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Khaled Al-Roudhan as well as Director General of the Kuwait Direct Investment Public Authority (KDIPA) Sheikh Dr Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and senior state officials were present at the opening of the forum.

In his speech to the event, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak said that the Kuwait Investment Forum, which held its first event two years ago, returns with the same message of inviting investors to do business in Kuwait. The attention that His Highness the Amir is allocating to the event is an indication that Kuwait’s supreme authority was giving the event his utmost consideration, said Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak. This very support from His Highness the Amir made the first event a success and hopefully this would continue with the currently held forum, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak added.

Private sector
Giving provisions to the private sector and allowing it to use its fullest potential will secure the future of the State of Kuwait, affirmed the Prime Minister who added that though direct foreign investments are relatively new to Kuwait, the country would seek all ventures to benefit both its people and others from around the globe. He indicated that Kuwait policies towards foreign investments are almost as the ones applied on their local counterparts, stressing that the GCC country has reached a level of maturity within the business domain that will guarantee profits for all. Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak indicated that Kuwait dealt with the drop in oil prices with efforts to diversify its economic resources and output, a step that will eventually stabilize the budget and usher an age where Kuwait’s aspirations are realized. The Kuwait Investment Forum has invited people with vast experiences in economy, finance, and investment, said Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak, adding that Kuwait had the right political, social, and economic status quos that would enable it to thrive and benefit others.

Foreign investment is not only a means to attract funds; it has many other perks that helps develop countries’ economies, infrastructures, and human resources. He indicated that to attract foreign investments, Kuwait took the necessary measures to facilitate business via decreasing customs fees and taxes, simplifying banking and financial transactions, as well as creating the most suitable atmosphere for foreign investors to do business.

Fairness and trust are the main current goals that Kuwait is trying to continue to develop for both foreign and national investors, said the Prime Minister who indicated that the current atmosphere in the country should ease the concerns of foreign investors. Recent regional and global economic indicators showed that Kuwait was heading in the right direction concerning business fairness and trust, said Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak. In the conclusion of his speech, the Prime Minister took the chance to welcome the forum’s participants and lauded the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) for their cooperation in the current event.

Measuring trust
Delivering his speech to the forum, Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (KCCI) Chairman Ali Thunayan Al-Ghanem thanked His Highness the Amir for his generous patronage and attendance of the forum which groups together local and foreign investors. Ghanem said that the KCCI and KDIPA had set their minds on making the second forum as successful as it was in its first incarnation in 2016. He indicated that foreign investors measure their trust of an economic entity or an economy of any given country through the local and national business personnel’s level of satisfaction.

Several countries of various stature and economic capabilities have succeeded in their quest to attract foreign investors and similarly, Kuwait is eager to continue its policies to bring in more investments, said Ghanem. Kuwait has set course to pursue economic diversity through various steps, which included the encouragement of small to medium size enterprises, microbusiness, as well as other ventures, said Ghanem who indicated that the bigger picture in the form of grand development plans should also be with the concern of Kuwaiti authority. Minor and major development plans should go together if any nation seeks progression, he affirmed, adding that the funding of those plans would be through local and foreign investors. He indicated that Kuwait’s various contributions to local and regional development would create a sort of leeway for partnership and mutual business ventures with most world countries.

The official cited the recently held Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq (KICRI) and other similar events as an indication that Kuwait was keen on the welfare of other countries. The event also displayed Kuwait’s willingness to create business opportunities with various countries and entities around the globe. The current forum will be another milestone for local and foreign investors and Kuwait is keen on making it a success, said Ghanem.

Diversifying resources
In similar fashion, KDIPA’s Director General Sheikh Dr Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah commended the Kuwaiti leadership for its efforts to diversify economic resources of the country. He indicated that this new policy was not only a political necessity but also a demand within efforts for economic reforms.

The Kuwait Investment Forum will hopefully tackle various issues connected with the country’s economic aspiration, affirmed Sheikh Meshaal who added that since KDIPA’s inception around $2.5 billion in foreign investments was attracted while some 1,000 job opportunities were created for Kuwaitis. Continuing on this road will have a positive impact on Kuwaiti economy and it would also create more business opportunities for numerous partners around the globe, affirmed the KDIPA Director General.

The current forum will be an opportunity for the world to be acquainted with Kuwait’s current political, economic, and financial developments, said the official who hoped that foreign investors would seek cooperation with Kuwait. After the speeches, a documentary was screened to the guests and participants, displaying the various business opportunities in Kuwait.

Islands’ development
Preliminary studies indicate that a national plan to develop Kuwaiti islands could help provide more than 200,000 jobs and generate an annual revenue of more than $35 billion, a senior Kuwaiti official said. In his speech during forum, First Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said the aforementioned plan ensures that the country is well protected.

He explained that prosperity in the islands would inevitably help carve out a densely populated region in the north, which makes security and protection all the more necessary. On the notion behind the project, he pointed out that the eastern Kuwaiti islands represent a fledgling area of investment that could be a launchpad for greater cooperation with neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, given the magnitude of the project, the Kuwaiti defense minister revealed that local and global firms have collectively taken up an endeavor that seeks to lure investment into an area with untapped potential. He cited an ongoing feasibility study over a plan to merge the islands project with Kuwait’s Silk Road enterprise, saying the proposition was highly likely at this point. “Everybody knows the true value of northern Kuwait,” the minister said, adding that his country has lived through two vast human civilizations that have contributed immensely to the world. On strategies to fund the slew of development projects the country has in store, he said the issue is “currently being examined in a way that would not inhibit the rights of future generations.”

Permanent office
Also during the session, Boeing Company announced a plan to open a permanent office in Kuwait this year. Recent studies by the giant US aircraft manufacturer have shown that until 2035; Kuwait needs 36,000 pilots and around 100,000 aircrewmen, in addition to the GCC member-state’s ambitious plans to enhance its human cadres, Timothy Keating, Executive Vice President of Government Operations for Boeing, said in his speech at the first session of the forum.

Kuwait’s recent measures of facilitations and reformations would inspire international companies, including Boeing, to visit the country, Keating said, noting that training courses for pilots and cadres are to be organized in cooperation with Kuwaiti aviation bodies.

Omar Al-Ghanem, CEO of Al-Ghanem Industries and Chairman of Gulf Bank, said Kuwait has several factors and reasons eligible to attract capitals to invest in it, notably the country’s geographic location and its new and enhanced infrastructure. Kuwait, like several other countries around the world, contributes to youth development, in addition to encouraging youngsters to work in the private sectors through establishing a backing fund, worth $7 billion, to support and encourage young entrepreneurs, Ghanem noted, adding that Kuwait also has modern laws and regulations. – KUNA

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