Brussels hosts Forum on Kuwait’s economy

Representatives from major Kuwaiti government institutions showcased opportunities and possibilities for Belgian companies and entrepreneurs to do business in Kuwait at a Forum held here late Wednesday. “Through this Forum, I invite our partners, the Belgian private sector and companies to invest in Kuwait where there is a good business environment and ample investment opportunities,” said Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs, Ambassador Amal Al-Hamad, in her opening remarks.

She hoped, “This Forum will promote and deepen our relationship that serves our mutual interests.” Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of the Arab Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce; the organizer of the event in cooperation with the Embassy of Kuwait, welcomed representatives of Belgian companies as well as Arab and Belgian diplomats. He voiced optimism that this one-day event would contribute to the strengthening of economic and trade links between Belgium and Kuwait.

“Kuwait Vision 2035 is a clear signal that the Arab Gulf country wants to liberalise and diversify its economy,” he said. “This Forum is an occasion for all of you not only to meet decision makers and potential partners, but also to gain insight in the economic development opportunities in Kuwait,” he said.

Hijazin also voiced happiness that over 50 percent of the speakers from Kuwait at the Forum were women; a sign of the lofty position enjoyed by this significant segment of society. On his part, Dr. Raoul Delcorde, Director of the Middle East and North Africa section at the Belgian foreign ministry noted that both Belgium and Kuwait are trading nations, stressing that relations between the two countries are “robust”. “Trade figures for the seven months of this year are on the rise for both Belgium and Kuwait. There is an increasing interest of Belgian producers and service providers for the Kuwait market,” he said.

Kuwait has also increased its investments in the oil and gas sector in Belgium in recent years, he noted. “Although we are witnessing increasing economic interaction between our two countries, I am also convinced that there are more opportunities,” said the Belgian diplomat. “The Kuwaiti Vision 2035 under the patronage of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah provides ways for economic cooperation,” he added.

Meanwhile, Faris Al-Obaid from the Supreme Council for Planning and Development of Kuwait, Sarah Al-Hassan from the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authoirty (KDIPA) and Malli AlOtabi from the Kuwait Port Authority, made comprehensive presentations on opportunities offered by Kuwait to Belgium. They explained that Kuwait’s government has taken major steps to improve the business environment and to diversify its economy in accordance with Kuwait Vision 2035 (New Kuwait). They noted that Kuwait has been listed among the top reformers in the ‘ease of doing business’ index.remarks said that the Forum was “very informative and energetic,” noting that about 60 percent of those who made presentations at the Forum from Kuwait were ladies.

“We are very proud of this and we have even broken the record of the European Commission on the participation of women,” he pointed out. Al-Budaiwi lauded the role of the private sector in Kuwait, saying it is the backbone of the economic development in the country. “Kuwait is ready and open for you and we at the embassy are open for you 24 hours and 365 days,” he noted. In addition to the Forum, the first-ever meeting of the joint Belgian-Kuwait economic committee was held at the Egmont Palace in Brussels the day before (Tuesday) and was hosted by the Belgian foreign ministry. Kuwait’s Ambassador to Belgium, the EU and NATO, Jassem Al-Budaiwi, in his concluding