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Kuwait Vision 2035: the rising of a “New Kuwait”

A vision for financial, cultural and institutional transformation

 A radical transformation often seems similar to breaking concrete. However, a clear vision and a comprehensive strategy can transmute any territory. In 2017, when the Government of Kuwait unveiled the country’s Vision 2035, it had both; a vision and a strategy. Intended to transform Kuwaiti soil into a financial, cultural and institutional hub in the next 17 years, the Kuwait National Development Plan branded as “New Kuwait” focuses on sustainable development while improving the global positioning.

While addressing the media during the launch of the ambitious plan, H.E. the Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said, “Today we launch a vision reinforced with an achievable and measurable plan for a New Kuwait. Today we launch initiatives that will transform our economy, create jobs, attract foreign direct investments and facilitate knowledge transfer in the fields of renewable energy, information technology, and the services sector. Today we launch a consolidated and comprehensive strategy that will empower and inspire the country for generations to come.”

The Kuwaiti plan is well-structured on a substantial idea of sustainable development of both man and soil. The vision addresses the need for investment in human capital and at the same time underlines the importance of private sector in an economy. For Kuwait, the need of the hour is creation of a favourable business environment and government support for a knowledge based economy. The Kuwait National Development Plan reflects administrative enthusiasm and positive approach towards entering the Kuwaiti era of socio-economic transformation. For the Kuwait of tomorrow, this is a promise to take everyone together in establishing a distinguished international standing.

Founded on the vision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the “New Kuwait” development plan is strategically based on five directive and seven pillars. The seven pillars, touted as the foundation of the “New Kuwait” vision, are public administration, economy, infrastructure, living environment, healthcare, human capital and global position.

The Seven Strategic Pillars

The “New Kuwait” Development plan is built on seven strategic pillars with principal focus on investment and development.

The very first pillar centres on effective public administration with an assurance to reform administrative and bureaucratic practices enhancing the standards of transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the government apparatus. Few of the projects initiated in this regards includes the development of Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour, the National Statistical Information Network, the Kuwaiti Business Centre and the five-year strategic plan on information and technology.

With an extremely significant objective, the second pillar talks about a diversified economy to reduce the country’s dependency on oil export revenues. Apart from industrializing various economic zones, the development of the South Jahra city, the Shadadia Industrial Area, the waterfront in Jahra (Al Jahra Corniche), the Shuaiba North Station are some of the many efforts taken up by the Government of Kuwait. Another key development is the upcoming Zour Refinery integrated with the Olefins 3 Complex for petrochemical and petroleum derivatives.

Emphasizing the importance of state-of-the-art national infrastructure as a bid to improve the standard of living, the third pillar focuses on sophisticated infrastructure. The country has already seen massive investment in building a strong network of roads, railways and ports along with the ambitious expansion plan for Kuwait Airport passenger terminal. In addition to this, a major future infrastructure project is the Stage 2 and 3 Shmal Alzour Power Plant, an electrical energy and distilled water plant currently under construction. Moreover, the soon-to-be-completed Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah Causeway (SJSC) is also a part of the “New Kuwait” plan.

The fourth pillar highlights the country’s commitment towards building a sustainable living environment. It also focuses on enhancing the availability of living accommodation through environmentally sound resources and tactics. Regarding this, the country has sketched out specific plans for installation of stations for monitoring air quality, treatment of municipal solid waste, plant purification and building renewable energy complex for energy saving.

The fifth and sixth pillars of “New Kuwait” National Development plan are Healthcare and Human Capital, respectively. The objective for healthcare is to improve the service quality and develop national capabilities in the public healthcare system at a reasonable cost. On the other hand, to garner an innovative human capital, a complete education system reform is underway. The fundamental idea is to develop Kuwait’s youth into competitive and productive members of the workforce. The major human capital projects include the proposals for the Kuwait Medical Sciences Campus, the Kuwait Fire Academy, the Sabah Al-Salem Campus Research Park, and the People with Special Needs Educations Complex.

The last strategic pillar for the vision of a financial, cultural and institutional transformation is gaining a distinguished international standing. The Global Position Objective discusses about enhancing the State of Kuwait’s regional and global presence in spheres such as diplomacy, trade, culture, and philanthropy.

The development plan, largely branded as “New Kuwait,” is built on these meticulously thought-out pillars and unveils the country’s vision with more than 150 strategic development programs.

Short to Medium Term Objectives

The State of Kuwait is acknowledged for being the global hub of the petrochemical industry, petroleum being the main export product. However, in last few years the country has seen magnificent growth in non-petroleum sectors with a significant rise in entrepreneurship and small businesses. One of the primary short to medium term objectives of the “New Kuwait” vision is increasing the direct foreign investment by 300% while attracting more than 400 million Kuwaiti Dinars to information technology, services, and renewable energy.

Moreover, developing Kuwait’s tourism sector, which holds great potential, to generate additional revenue streams and create a new jobs market. The vision also stresses on continuous investment in infrastructure projects, the country’s transportation and power sectors by capitalizing on the recent success in IWPP and PPP projects.

To gain from the recent momentum, the short to medium term objectives also talk about urban development and housing with an introduction of new master plan for development of cities. As an effort to build strong foundation for human welfare, Kuwait also looks forward to introducing social and economic empowerment programs targeting youth, women, SMEs, and the elderly. An extremely relevant view has been taken towards augmenting country’s progressive humanitarian record regionally and globally.

Modern day Kuwait is thriving on petroleum industry and the limited private sector involvement. This dependency on public sector, as Kuwati government accepts, puts sustainability at risk. The need to diversify economic base is unquestionable today. Consequently, a new development vision, to guide country’s socio-economic transformation over the coming decades, has been constructively presented by the Government of Kuwait. In its current framework, the vision promises comprehensive roadmap and coherent plan seeking support from all stakeholders for realizing the ambitious agenda.

With an aim to raise the State of Kuwait’s global ranking among the top 30 countries by 2035, the “New Kuwait” vision is certainly a unified approach towards building a prosperous and sustainable future.