KUWAIT: Infrastructure has emerged as a vital agenda in ‘Kuwait’s Vision 2035’ and is adding to the demand for advancements in the national infrastructure, thanks to the country’s strong pipeline of infrastructure projects, according to audit and advisory services group KPMG. Titled ‘The Kuwait Perspective,’ the report published by KPMG takes a leaf from the global thought leadership publication ‘Emerging Trends in Infrastructure’ to paint a comprehensive narrative around factors such as sustainability, ESG, mass customization, inflation, supply chain, climate change, globalization, sunk costs and geopolitics with regard to Kuwait’s infrastructure sector’s future.
Speaking about the report, Imran Shaik, Director — deal advisory and head of Infrastructure Services, KPMG in Kuwait said, “Infrastructure has emerged as a vital agenda in Kuwait’s Vision 2035 and is adding to the demand for advancements in the national infrastructure. Kuwait has a strong pipeline of infrastructure projects with an estimated value of $27.6 billion in the bidding stage, which is setting a tone of optimism for the sector.” The report mentions that despite the slowdown in the awarding and implementation of projects, the prevalent tone in the sector is positive.
The Kuwait edition of the global report featured interviews with five key personalities from Kuwait’s infrastructure sector, who spoke to members of KPMG in Kuwait in personal capacities to make the publication more insightful. They were Kapil Kumra, deputy general manager and head of project finance, National Bank of Kuwait, Hassan F Choudhry, chief financial officer, Umm Al-Hayman for Wastewater Treatment Company KSPC, Dr Dheeraj Bhardwaj, Group CEO, City Group Co. KSCP, Shi Yifei, Deputy Chief Representative of AVIC INTL in Arabic Gulf Area, and Yang Chunsen, Representative of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited in Kuwait and the President of Chinese Enterprise Association in Kuwait.
The report called attention to the push for public-private partnerships (PPPs), citing their potential long-term benefits. As the Gulf nation looks to PPPs to set the pace in the sector, Hassan F Choudhry said, “I think the overall essence of the market in Kuwait toward PPP projects is welcoming. There is a general understanding that public and private partnerships can bring significant overall efficiencies and economic benefits to the State of Kuwait.” “Some other countries within the region have moved quite ahead within the PPP industry. But with the current pipeline of PPP projects that are to be executed in the State of Kuwait, I am sure that Kuwait will be competing and at par with such economies soon,” he added.
In view of Kuwait’s commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, the report found that oil and gas companies and financial service-based organizations, are driving the agenda as the early adopters. Speaking at an individual capacity with KPMG in Kuwait, Kapil Kumra said, “The banks in Kuwait are aligned with Kuwait’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2060 and have formulated sustainable financing policies. Many banks have regionally and internationally signed up to be part of the net-zero alliance. This is expected to provide better and more competitive financing for sustainable infrastructure projects.”
The report also pointed at mobility-as-a-service’s (MaaS) potential to be cost-competitive with public transport services and more convenient in servicing the last mile of customer journeys. Addressing the same, Dr Dheeraj Bhardwaj said, “If you want to make public transport more attractive and thrive, you need to have a one-stop end-to-end mobility solution available preferably through a mobile app.” He added, “Mobility as a service makes your life easier by offering you all the modes of transport to go from one destination to another.” Dr Bhardwaj further emphasized that public transport is an ecosystem and it needs to be provided on a single platform, ie, MaaS.
The government has recognized the need for a comprehensive digital transformation to drive better investment timelines, resource commitments and attract more capital into the sector, mentioned the report. Shi Yifei talked about the benefits that digitalization can bring to the sector and quoted, “Digital tools can also help contractors gather and analyze data on project performance, which can be used to improve decision-making and project outcomes. We firmly believe that by embracing digital tools and technologies, contractors can position themselves for success in an increasingly competitive and complex industry.”
Organizations are increasingly prioritizing procurement in light of recent and future supply chain disruptions. They want to avoid long lead times and have the materials, equipment and workforce where required well in advance. In line with this, Yang Chunsen said, “Global problems require global solutions. We are a community of common future; we have to work together to overcome these global problems.” The publication marked KPMG’s eleventh year of publishing global infrastructure trends that have classically supported in shaping the industry.