THE state visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to China is very significant, specifically this time when preparations are underway to start the largest commercial transportation project in the world – the ‘One Belt-One Way Initiative’. Kuwait will be one of the basic terminals due to its strategic geographical location.
During this visit, the Amir is expected to conclude an agreement initiated more than nine years ago to strengthen “strategic partnership between the two countries.” His Highness has affirmed that this agreement will expand the participation of Kuwait in realizing the dream of many people in the Arab world, and Kuwait in particular, concerning the opening of a commercial road among the largest countries in the region and the world. This is to reposition Kuwait to become a significant point within this global artery, which will absolutely bring many benefits to the national economy.
His Highness the Amir said, “Kuwait’s Strategic Vision 2035 contained in the five-year development plan (2015-2020), which is backed by law, consolidates the gradual transformation into a diversified economy based on the knowledge that it will make the country an attractive investment environment, as well as transform it into a commercial and financial hub within the global economic routes.”
In saying this, His Highness has thrown the ball into the courts of both the executive and legislative authorities. They now have the obligation to follow up concerted efforts with series of laws for the country to attract investments, especially since it has been described in international reports over the past years as investment repellant.
Among the initial steps that must be taken for this visit to be fruitful include reducing bureaucracy, eliminating overlapping among ministries, and avoiding emotional extemporaneous decisions meant for serving political interests which make Kuwait look like an isolated island.
With the advent of Internet, most services are now offered through this electronic space. Many sisterly and friendly countries now rely on the Internet for issuance of visit visas, obtaining commercial licenses and other procedures. However, we are still in the era of “with reference to our letter and your letter” and apologies which hinder activities.
Undoubtedly, many investors and entrepreneurs see Kuwait as a significant location for investment, but they are discouraged by the administrative bureaucracy which seems to be revolving within the space of the early part of the last century and has yet to arrive in the 21st century.
Considering this fact, improving Kuwaiti-Chinese partnership will yield remarkable results. To ensure such results emerge, all the concerned authorities must begin to work right now to lay down the appropriate foundations. This is instructive as 2035, when Kuwait is expected to be a global commercial and financial hub, is fast approaching.
Therefore, we hope the government and National Assembly will not disappoint by acting seriously to benefit from the quick developments amidst the complex regional and global situations. This should be converted into an opportunity for Kuwait, which needs to exit from the bulging long-necked bottle of isolation arising from actions of successive governments and parliaments over the past years.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times