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OPEC member Kuwait is looking to attract increasing amounts of foreign direct investment as it plans to diversify its oil-dependent economy and regain the status of a business hub in the Middle Eastern region, top Kuwaiti officials said this week.
“The problem is that the oil price has been low and it’s been [impacting] on investment - this has encouraged us to get income from more products other than oil,” Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, said, as quoted by The National.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is still underdeveloped in the country, and now is the right time to invest in Kuwait, the prime minister noted.
Kuwait, which gets 90 percent of its government revenues from oil, has been slow to diversify its economy because of its high capital reserves and because it has the lowest breakeven oil price among Middle Eastern producers—around US$47.
Kuwait wants to transform into a business hub that attracts investments, and to increase the role of the private sector in economy, Sheikh Al-Sabah said at the opening of the Kuwait Investment Forum 2018 on Tuesday.
The Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) has so far attracted around US$2.5 billion in investments, its Director General, Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, said at the same event.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Meshaal Al-Sabah said that Kuwait now allows foreign companies to set up 100-percent foreign-owned companies anywhere in the country, not only in special economic zones. So far, the majority of foreign investor interest has come from the United States and China, Al-Sabah told Bloomberg.
At the investment forum, Kuwait is trying to attract investment in opportunities that are part of its Vision 2035 economic overhaul plan. The sectors that Kuwait has deemed strategic include information & communications technology, oil & gas, renewable energy, the North zone developments, electricity & water, urban developments & housing, healthcare, education, transport, communications, and tourism.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.