The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has granted BNP Paribasthe first licence for a foreign bank in the country.

The decision will now be passed to the cabinet for final approval, following which the process of launching operations is expected to take about nine months. The landmark move follows the passage in December of legislation permitting the entry of foreign banks to the local market.

Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bankand HSBCare also understood to have applied for licences (MEED 30:4:04, Cover Story).