Supporting Reforms to Improve the Business Environment in Kuwait

The Government of Kuwait represented by Sheikh Dr. Meshaal Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Director General of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) and the World Bank Group represented by Mr. Issam Abousleiman, Country Director for the GCC Countries, entered into a new partnership to Support Investment Environment Reform in Kuwait Phase II,  to further improve the country’s business environment in areas measured by the World Bank’s global ‘Doing Business’ (DB) report. This renewed partnership is motivated by the Government’s continuing commitment towards creating a more open, transparent, and business-friendly environment for local and foreign firms to operate and prosper.

Kuwait’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in 2018 was 96 out of 190 countries compared to 102 in 2017 –  placing it eighth in the Arab world.  This relative improvement stemmed from gains as measures by distance to frontier (DTF)  in the areas of starting a business, registering property, obtaining construction permits, and getting electricity. Despite these marginal improvements, important challenges remain in other areas of doing business related to trading across border, resolving insolvency and protecting minority investors.

The overall objective of this project is to support the Kuwaiti Government in implementing reforms aimed at improving the regulatory environment in areas measured by the Doing Business Report. The project will support the efforts of the Permanent Committee for Streamlining Business Environment and Enhancing Competitiveness in the State of Kuwait (PCK) headed by KDIPA to implement the National Reform Agenda for Improving the Business Environment (Tahseen Program). The duration of the partnership is 2 years.

After the signing ceremony, Mr. Abousleiman commented on the new partnership saying, “with the growing number of small-and-medium enterprises in the region, the ease of doing business reform agenda can play a crucial role in promoting economic growth, job creation and economic diversification. While easing business regulations has favorable implications for local businesses, they also encourage attracting foreign direct investments as they are equally affected by the rules and regulations set up by governments in the region. For Kuwait to diversify economically and reach its national vision 2035 of becoming an innovative financial and commercial regional hub, further business environment reforms are required.”