Kuwait ranks 5th and penultimate on list of ‘non-oil projects’ in GCC

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Value of projects limited to $409 mln

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 9: MEED magazine reported that the value of existing non-oil projects in Kuwait was limited to $409 million, including projects worth $339 million which are in the implementation phase, compared to $70 million for projects in the study phase, and therefore ranked fifth and penultimate on MEED magazine’s list of non-oil projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, reports Al-Anba daily. The magazine said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia topped the list, as it ranked first with projects whose total value in all stages exceeded 40 billion dollars, followed by the UAE in second place with projects worth more than 8 billion dollars; Oman came in third place with projects worth 3.582 billion dollars, Qatar in fourth place with projects worth 1.597 billion dollars, then Kuwait and Bahrain in fifth and sixth places with contracts worth 409 million dollars and 10 million dollars, respectively.

The sources added that as part of non-oil economic development strategies, regional governments focus on supporting non-oil industries such as aluminum, steel and other metal industries as well as manufacturing industrial equipment.

In this context, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are seeking to implement projects that would expand the base of their non-oil economies and promote the localization of industries and production instead of importing from abroad.

The Gulf governments have not abandoned their efforts aimed at economic diversification despite achieving strong economic growth and building fiscal surpluses in the budget as a result of high oil prices. Contrary to the past, the current cycle of high oil prices is witnessing respective governments’ relentless efforts to increase investment in enhancing their hydrocarbon production capabilities while working at the same time to reach their economic diversification goals.

Commenting on this issue, Husam Al-Jumaili, partner in the Middle East division of management consulting firm Bain & Company, says that many economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are at a turning point today, based on their belief that reliance on oil revenues and public spending for growth is not sustainable.

On a related level, the global rise was noticeable in the field of establishing special economic zones, which include logistic centers, free trade zones and industrial clusters. In the eighties of the last century, there were fewer than 200 such regions worldwide, but today it is more than 7,000 scattered over in more than 140 countries. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were at the forefront of this growth due to the fierce global competition to attract companies to the Special Economic Zones, but the geographical advantage enjoyed by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the relationship between East and West is still as strong as it was centuries ago.

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