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Vision 2035, Kuwait begins to get its act together
August 5, 2017, 4:30 pm
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Kuwait’s long-term vision and strategic plan for the future was rebranded and unveiled early this year as New Kuwait 2035. The importance of developing and implementing a credible and coherent plan for the growth and development any country cannot be over-stated. The New Kuwait 2035 plan is probably Kuwait’s belated response to this realization.

The new blueprint builds on the five-year Kuwait Development Plan launched in 2015 and expands on it, while extending it for a further 15 years to 2035. New Kuwait 2035 aims to develop the country in five strategic goals so as to make it a financial hub, a leading hydrocarbon exporter and petro-chemical manufacturer, a lucrative venue for foreign investments, a pivot for knowledge transfer in renewable energy and information technology, and an enticing cultural center in the region by the year 2035.

The launch ceremony, which was held at the newly opened iconic Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center in Kuwait City, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah in the presence of several cabinet ministers and other distinguished guests.

New Kuwait 2035 is an extension of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s vision to transform Kuwait into a financial and trade center, attractive to investors, where the private sector leads the economy under the umbrella of enabling government institutions, which accentuates values, safeguards social identity, and achieves human resource development as well as balanced development.

In his speech at the New Kuwait launch, the Premier said that over the past many years several steps were taken to translate His Highness the Amir’s vision for the future and affirmed his government’s commitment to fully implement the visionary strategy over the coming years.

Outlining the new plan, the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said that the 164 development programs identified and its associated objectives were centered around seven pillars: economy; infrastructure; public administration; living environment; health care; human capital; and Kuwait’s global position. The plan also includes 20 global indicators so that the progress of implementation can be more effectively measured and, at the same time, compared to other parts of the world.

He added that the ambitious plan aims to increase the State’s revenues from a little over KD13 billion in the current fiscal year to over KD50 billion by 2035. Among the development efforts being mobilized and mega projects being envisioned to help in garnering this three-fold increase in revenue, are the Jaber Al-Ahmad Causeway linking the capital with Subbiya City and the upcoming futuristic Silk City across Kuwait Bay, the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port and the Boubiyan Island container terminal, new residential communities, power and water utilities, as well as air, rail, road and other infrastructures. In addition, special economic schemes and support mechanism were being devised for the young, women and the elderly, said the cabinet affairs minister.

The government has also published targeted indicators of the New Kuwait plan, which include developing petrochemical facilities, increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) by 300 percent, attracting KD400 million investment in IT and promoting sustainable development by ensuring 15 percent of the country’s energy needs comes from renewable sources by 2035. Though each of the seven pillars in the New Kuwait 2035 has its own associated objectives, the collective aim is to streamline administration, diversify the economy, improve infrastructure, invest in human resources and enhance Kuwait’s status, so that it again becomes the regional leader that it once was in culture, education, commerce and other fields.

Furthermore, the new strategy is expected to boost confidence among the public and give impetus to the government’s ongoing initiatives, including the drive to assign a bigger role for the private sector in the country’s economy. The public-private partnerships being promoted by the government has already resulted in a positive outcome. The Al Zour North One power and desalination plant, a PPP venture, was completed on budget and on time in December 2016. News of this successful public private partnership model has begun to inject confidence into the wider economy.

Some analysts believe 2017 could well be the year that Kuwait finally begins to get its act together and move forward cohesively and comprehensively on a much-needed growth and development path. We sincerely hope so.

 

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