Kuwait Vision 2035 or New Kuwait is a vision programme ongoing from 2010 which aims to translate Kuwait into a regional and international leader in finance and trade by 2035. The vision document also enables approaches for strengthening national values, cultural development and social identity.
While launching the programme, His Highness, the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah AlAhmed AlJaber AlSabah outlined his vision to “transform Kuwait into a financial and trade hub, attractive to investors, where the private sector leads the economy, creating competition and promoting production efficiency, under the umbrella of enabling government institutions, which accentuates values, safeguards social identify, and achieve human resource development as well as balanced development, providing adequate infrastructure, advanced legislation and inspiring business environment.”
Kuwait’s old and current economy is reliant on oil and gas primarily to fulfill its needs. The crash in oil prices in the previous years, production cuts and the pandemic’s devastating impact on global oil demand has put enormous strain on the economy leading to the government financing the deficits increasingly. The fall in revenue led to a downgrading of Kuwait’s sovereign ratings twice in the past two years. Kuwait’s economy is expected to grow only by 0.5% in the fiscal year of 2021, after a contraction of 8.9% last year.
The outlook for oil- dependent economies has turned negative in recent years as global peers start moving away from oil-driven economies. This, coupled with the disastrous climate change effects faced by many countries currently, will only propel the world more toward green technology. Kuwait’s funds available to the government appeared to deplete in the first quarter of 2021 raising difficult questions to seek alternative funds after Parliament approval.
Kuwait 2035 rightly focuses on sustainability and diversifying its trade basket to reduce dependence on petroleum exports. One of its three aspirations include “providing new infrastructure, appropriate legislation and an enabling a business environment conducive to development and providing controls and climate to ensure total and balanced human resource development.” To achieve it, Kuwait 2035 identifies “sustainable diversified economy”, “sustainable living environment” and “creative human capital” as the pillars of the plan. The plan recognizes the goals of United Nations Sustainable development goals 2030 as the international parameters to be adhered to in its future projects. The plan document highlights that to build a prosperous sustainable future, Kuwait is looking to utilize its traditional strengths vis a vis businesses with modern industries. To do this, it will look to promote non-oil sectors to lift them to international standards. Sectors like service, tourism will be favourable. To boost sustainability, Kuwait is already inching towards green power. For example, the Shagaya Renewable Energy Park is a solar energy project which will contribute 4 GW of power to the grid and this will place it among the largest of the solar parks in the world.
Kuwait is looking towards privatization in a big manner to boost investments in upcoming decades with corporatization followed by Privatization. The move has many benefits including attracting global industrial hubs to set shop under Kuwait 2035. Major infrastructure projects in the offing include the Kuwait national railroad, water distillation plants, various real-estate development projects, Diddiba renewable energy park, 6 labour cities, hospitals, silk city and island development plans, etc. Looking to boost human development, a key parameter for the success of a knowledge-based economy, Kuwait is revamping its education system with the help of the World Bank. New research and education campuses are also under progress.
Kuwait’s successful transformation into a non-oil economy major will be a major example for oil-dependent export economies. Kuwait Vision 2035 will also lead to the county engaging in deeper partnerships with developing economies for better market penetration. This can be used by Kuwait to position itself in developing nations groupings as a major reliable partner with significant opportunities for migrants and business. Current challenges will still continue to trouble the Kuwaiti economy till it invests substantially more in human capital development, services and renewable energy.
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