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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 10: The French newspaper Le Figaro described Kuwait as a ‘sleeping giant’, as it possesses enormous economic capabilities, great human potential, and other ingredients, but unfortunately they are untapped, reports Al-Qabas daily. In a report prepared by the newspaper’s envoy Georges Malbrunot, prominent journalist specializing in Middle East affairs, Le Figaro touched on many of these untapped potentials, stressing that “Kuwait possesses one of the largest sovereign funds in the world, but the movement of development is slow,” noting that “Kuwait has one of the largest sovereign funds in the world calling it the only Gulf country that has an elected parliament since 1962, a fierce press, and opinion bureaus despite this democracy, Kuwait revolves around stagnation and lags behind its Gulf neighbors.
The newspaper considered that Kuwait invests more than 25 billion Euros in France, which saved the coffers of Paris in 1982, noting that extremist currents resist the desired development, and the government’s submission to it is a problem that is looking for a solution. The newspaper criticized the failure to achieve the desired developmental and economic boom, as Kuwait fell from the second place among the Gulf economies to the “fourth” during the past 15 years, pointing to a number of reasons behind the slow development, including political confl icts and aggravation between Parliament and the government, as well as succumbing to extremists and other reasons.
The newspaper pointed out that Kuwait is in a state of stagnation, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been involved in implementing structural changes. Youssef Al-Ghoussein of the Reconnaissance Center for Studies explained in his interview with the newspaper’s envoy that everyone remembers that Kuwait was the first country in the world to establish a sovereign fund in 1953, which is the Kuwait Investment Authority which owns more than $720 billion, and it is the third sovereign fund in the world after the Norwegian and Chinese sovereign funds. The newspaper pointed out that Kuwait is living on its laurels amid the lack of investment projects and its delay in diversifying the economy and the energy transition.
The report mentioned another example of what is happening in terms of extremism, “when strong Islamic formations imposed segregation between the sexes in the new university, the authorities had to double the area of the buildings, and the cost of the project also doubled.” Kuwait, which is a rentier country with distinction, has many capabilities, especially human capital, which is considered among the highest qualified in the Gulf. Foreigners are very rare in managing the sovereign fund, unlike Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Abdulaziz Al-Anjari, head of the Reconnaissance Center for Research, believes that “what Kuwait needs is a clear and detailed working paper to achieve the desired reforms.”