Kuwait’s Silk City is key project in
China’s One Belt One Road initiative
Kuwait’s Silk City and the five-island developments are a key project in the One Belt One Road initiative, and will strengthen Kuwait-China relations, said Mr. Jiang Zengwei – Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC).
In a keynote address at the Kuwait Investment Forum (KIF 2018), Mr. Jiang Zengwei said Kuwait was one of the first GCC nations to have diplomatic ties with China and relations between the two countries have strengthened over the years. He said the One Belt One Road initiative complements Kuwait’s Vision 2035 in fostering development in several core sectors.
Mr. Jiang Zengwei said Kuwait and China have signed several cooperation agreements, which have further laid the foundations for promoting mutually beneficial growth. “China is today one of the Kuwait’s most important trading partners and an important source of crude oil from Kuwait. Bilateral trade was US$12 billion in 2017, recording a year-on-year growth of 28%.”
He said there are strong prospects to drive further growth by leveraging Kuwait’s strengths, adding that by 2035, China will achieve “socialist modernization” and drive development that will benefit all people. He made key suggestions to strengthen cooperation including a focus on infrastructure development in which Chinese companies can play a central role.
Mr. Jiang Zengwei said that more than 50 delegates from China attended KIF 2018, and they represent industries and sectors that can actively contribute to achieving the goals of Kuwait Vision 2035. “Chinese companies can support in capacity enhancements in various sectors including manufacturing and infrastructure development that will help diversify Kuwait’s economy.”
He said that closer cooperation between the two nations will be mutually beneficial. “Kuwait and China are the world’s financial hubs and through innovative investment and financing models, we can create better opportunities for both nations.”
Held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber, KIF 2018 is co-organised by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA), and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) at the Bayan Palace and the Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre (JACC).
The event builds on the positive momentum gained globally following the country’s commitment to the Kuwait 2035 roadmap that aims to transform the nation into a world-class financial and commercial centre. For more details, visit: kif.kdipa.gov.kw
Kuwaiti youth catalyse the nation towards
a full-fledged knowledge economy
The youth in Kuwait are catalysing the nation towards a full-fledged knowledge economy, that in turn contributes to increased investment, cross-border collaboration and the creation of a thriving innovation ecosystem, said an expert at the Kuwait Investment Forum (KIF 2018).
Addressing delegates one the second day of the forum, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin – Director-General, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) said the economic diversification initiatives under Vision 2035 is accelerating the shift to a knowledge-based economy.
He said: “There is an approved plan to increase government spending for Science, Technology & Innovation to over 1% of the total GDP from 0.3% – closer to global average, set up a national R&D council, which will also strengthen the role of the private sector to improve their products, processes and services. The human potential and support of the government continues to promote the initiatives to building a stronger innovation ecosystem for the welfare of the country and its people.”
In his keynote speech on ‘Investing in Youth: Creativity and Technology’, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin pointed out that “a strong foundation exists, building on the pioneering efforts that were started during the last century. The KFAS is expanding its role as a catalyst to support and foster the development.”
He said that Kuwait’s 5-year development plan (2015-2020), allocates $103 billion to developing infrastructure, increasing competitiveness, building a knowledge-based economy, strengthening the market against instability, developing the financial market, enabling the private sector to lead growth, and encouraging foreign direct investment through legislation that allows 100% foreign ownership.
Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin charted the building of the innovation ecosystem in Kuwait, starting with the Mubarikya, built in the 1920, through the discovery of oil in 1938, and the first oil export in 1946. As early as 1936, merchants in Kuwait asked the ruler to pay an additional tax proactively to establish the Department of Education. The Shuwaikh High School was established in 1954, followed by the seminal moment in the country's history- its Independence in 1961, and the formation of the Constitutional Assembly in 1962, which set the foundations for the true democracy in the region.
Powering the innovation ecosystem, the Kuwait University was established in 1966 and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research a year later. The scientific culture in students was underpinned with the formation of the Kuwait Science Club in 1974, while in 1976, the private sector supported the vision of the late Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in the establishment of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. The establishment of the National Fund in 2013 and the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority in 2013, further strengthened the innovation ecosystem.
Emphasising role of KFAS, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin said that the government plays a key role in promoting and advancing science, technology and innovation in Kuwait by increasing the advocacy of scientific culture, fostering investment in technology, promoting technology and innovation within the public and private sectors, and driving socioeconomic development and sustainability by empowering the youth through education and innovation.
He said initiatives such as the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center and the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, which form Kuwait’s new national cultural district, help position Kuwaiti youth on par with their peers globally, and underlines the government’s commitment to build a talent pool that will drive the New Kuwait vision. These initiatives will also help drive increased participation of Kuwaiti workforce in the private sector. With the Shagaya Renewable Energy Project and the solar rooftop initiative, examples of innovation at work, the country can achieve its renewable energy targets.
Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin underpinned the role of the private sector in promoting innovation, highlighted by its annual contribution to KFAS, the establishment of over 40 private universities and more than 500 schools in addition to incubator labs for start-ups. “We work on innovation challenges, working with renowned educational institutions for capacity building, both in private sector and government. We also build research capacity among young Kuwaitis that deal with national priorities. The role of KFAS now is to maximise our impact in catalysing innovation in youth and accelerating the deployment of technologies benefitting society,” he said.
KIF2018 has remarkable guest speakers including prominent pubic officials, leading Kuwaiti business and financial community, as well as prominent international business executives. For more details, visit: kif.kdipa.gov.kw