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‘Bonds between UK, Kuwait strong’

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The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman William Russell, visited Kuwait from 6-8 October. The Lord Mayor is an international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector. The UK is the leading exporter of financial services across the world, to the value of £64bn. London houses more foreign banks, and accounts for more international bank lending, than any other centre.

William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London

The UK also offers exceptional maritime services, Islamic finance, legal services, insurance, education, and infrastructure financing and delivery. The Lord Mayor also heads the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globallysuccessful UK. During his visit, the Lord Mayor called on His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, His Excellency Mr Khalifa Al Musaed Al Hamada, Minister of Finance and Mr Ghanem Al Ghenaiman, Chairman of the Kuwait Investment Authority. He also met with Mr Nasser Musaed Al Sayer, Group Chairman of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Mr Ahmed Al Melhem, Chairman of the Capital Markets Authority. At a joint public event, the Lord Mayor took the opportunity to address members of the Kuwait Banking Association.

The Lord Mayor’s priorities over the course of the visit included highlighting the upcoming UN climate change conference, CoP26, which will be held in Glasgow later this year. The COP26 agenda for 2021 is vitally important in setting direction and obtaining commitments from all countries to tackle the worst effects of climate change and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees or less. Coupled to this aim, the Lord Mayor has highlighted how UK expertise and innovation in sustainable finance can help the Kuwaiti financial services sector to unlock the huge opportunities offered by the green transition.

The Lord Mayor has also sought to deepen the UK’s ties with Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund through the Kuwait Investment Authority, promoting inward sovereign wealth investment in support of the HMG agenda. He has also promoted opportunities for UK-based Financial and Professional Service firms in Kuwait and reaffirmed the important relationship between our two friendly nations. The Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell said: “It is a pleasure to be here in Kuwait and an honour to meet with His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait. The bonds between the UK and Kuwait remain strong and enduring. We welcome the continued vote of confidence from Kuwait in London and the UK’s economy, with the Kuwait Investment Authority recommitting to spend $180bn of investments through its London office. This creates shared jobs and prosperity for both of our countries. “London’s offer to global investors continues to go from strength to strength. Its unique combination of time zone, language, legal system, global talent, and financial services ecosystem which makes us truly a gateway to global capital and advice. “As we approach the COP26 summit, the UK is very keen for Kuwait to become an ally in the fight against climate change. The City of London Corporation will be hosting a Green Horizon Summit at COP26. We are delighted to see that Kuwait has committed to a target of having 15% of its electricity generated from renewables by 2030. By working together, British expertise and innovation in sustainable finance can help the Kuwaiti financial services sector to unlock the huge opportunities offered by the green transition.”

HE British Ambassador to Kuwait Mrs Belinda Lewis said: “The Lord Mayor’s visit highlights the close cooperation between Kuwait and the UK in the field of financial and professional services. The Corporation of London, headed by the Lord Mayor, has a fascinating history dating back centuries and the City of London today remains a vibrant, cosmopolitan hotbed of talent. London and the UK are truly global in outlook, keen to partner with others to share world leading expertise and professionalism.”

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