Special Report: Kuwait - Infrastructure projects boost economy

23 November 2010

There is cautious optimism that Kuwait, while far from overcoming its bureaucratic shortcomings, is finally moving in the right direction

Invasions, conflicts and the global financial downturn have meant that Kuwait’s project developments have fallen far short of the country’s potential in the past 20 years.

The country’s $104bn five-year infrastructure development programme is the focus of this renewed hope. Private sector expertise will help deliver $28bn in new projects.

A $7bn metro system, the country’s first independent water and power plant, a $3bn tourist development and the expansion of Kuwait airport are all planned.

In the past megaprojects such as these have failed to get off the ground. Although this has done little to damage Kuwait’s macro-economic stability as the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter, its weakness lies in its political system.

Multibillion-dollar projects have been hampered by open debates and confrontations in parliament.

This time, there is more of a political consensus surrounding the plans.

Kuwait’s parliament must now work to remove its reputation for being an obstacle to the implementation of the country’s development and apply a structured approach to realise its ambitions.

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