31 January 2017

To mark the 11th anniversary of Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah becoming the leader of the country, Kuwait on Monday launched its economic development plan, dubbed ‘New Kuwait’.

The 2035 plan aims to transform Kuwait into a business and cultural hub for the region.

The basic pillars of the plan are: diversifying the economy away from its dependence on oil revenues, capital investment through mega-projects, development of education and transport sectors, making the country more attractive to tourists and increasing participation by the private sector.

The strategy starts with a five-year development plan which sets $100 billion until 2021, of which $15 billion will be spent between 2017-2018, according to Al-Arabiya.

The plan aims to raise Kuwait’s revenues to 50 billion Kuwaiti dinars ($163.96 billion) by 2035, from 13.3 billion Kuwaiti dinars forecast for next year, according to a report by Kuwait Times. It did not elaborate on how it plans to achieve this.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Hind Al-Sabeeh, was quoted as saying the plan aims to reduce the number of expats to 60 percent of the population, down from the current level of 70 percent.

Around 90 percent of Kuwait’s revenue comes from oil and the Gulf Arab state has struggled to adapt to declining prices. It has attempted to introduce austerity measures, but these have had little success as the parliament has set blocked many of these proposals, favouring populist decisions over tough reforms.

Twelve years ago, Kuwait launched a vision to transform itself into an investment and financial capital in the region, but many analysts see that little has been achieved in that direction.

© Express 2017