The second edition of the Kuwait Investment Forum (KIF 2018) was held, which shed light on Kuwait’s dynamic market.
KIF 2018 announced a series of projects across diverse sectors of the economy – from infrastructure development, renewable energy, to the digital transformation initiatives of the country aimed at boosting the status of Kuwait as a financial and capital market hub.
This was exemplified in the impressive Northern Gulf Gateway, an integrated flagship project that will identify the “Future Kuwait”, initially billed to attract $150 to 200 billion in foreign direct investment for developing 20% of the project. It is intended to also create over 300,000 to 400,000 knowledge-based jobs for the youth and is positioned to welcome 3 to 5 million visitors annually, boosting the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors.
Besides being a touristic destination, it will further serve as an economic catalyst by integrating various competitive specialized zones: an educational hub, a world-class medical facility, a center for smart industry and future technologies, a financial hub with a stock exchange, and a port of 8 million TEU capacity.
Other mega opportunities in the infrastructure sector that will boost Kuwait’s economy include the ongoing construction of the new terminals at Kuwait International Airport, scheduled to be completed in 2022, and will have an annual capacity of 25 million passengers bringing additional annual revenues of $300 million. This project is expected to create 12,000 job opportunities for engineers and skilled workers, especially young Kuwaitis.
Kuwait’s focus on energy sector diversification was also highlighted at the Forum. Al-Shaqaya Renewable Energy Complex aims to increase the capacity available for power plants with the total completion rate of the project at 80% and due for completion in 2022.
The Clean Fuels Project, an overhaul of the Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries, was also highlighted leading to an increase in oil production and development of reserves with returns on investment on the project expected at 11.5%.
Serving Kuwait’s digitization transformation, the Communication & Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) is spearheading several lucrative initiatives in the ICT sector, driving the upgrade of e-government services to international standards, and encouraging ICT startups led by young Kuwaiti entrepreneurs.
The Al Nayeem Industrial city focuses on shifting from creating industrial zones to smart integrated cities, that complements the goals of Kuwait National Vision 2035. The Al Nayeem Industrial City will focus on diversifying the industrial base, bringing high-end technology and creating higher value-add. It will be an innovative, green city development, powered by solar energy, and with innovative smart buildings.
A new Cargo City at Kuwait International airport (First phase), built on 3 million sqms, is considered to be one of the most important projects in the development plan and will be the largest cargo city in the Middle East enhancing Kuwait logistics and storage capabilities.
Kuwait is also seeking to develop its tourism sector.
KIF 2018 also highlighted several initiatives to transform the banking system and promote advanced financing with several new investment channels.
In June 2018, the global index compiler MSCI said that it is considering the reclassification of Kuwait from Frontier Market to Emerging Market status in its annual review next year, even as FTSE Russell reclassified the nation as an Emerging Market in 2017, promoting an expected inflow of $700 million from investors.