As Consul-General of Kuwait to Hong Kong and Macau, I am very delighted and honored to celebrate and share with you the occasion of the fifty second anniversary of independence of the State of Kuwait and the seventh anniversary of the succession to power of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of the State of Kuwait.
Over the past few years, Kuwait’s economy has experienced one of the fastest
growth rates in the GCC. Kuwait has the second lowest unemployment rate in the
MENA region and in 2008, the country ranked the highest in the Middle East on
the UN’s Human Development Index. Kuwait has also exhibited strong economic and
fiscal performance, and the government is going further to invest in vital
reform and development projects/programs to transform the role of the government
from an operator to a regulator. A number of reforms were made to the country’s
financial regulations to increase Kuwait’s competitiveness. Additionally, the
government launched initiatives in education, health care, environment, culture,
and labor market development.
The most significant reform initiative is the Kuwait Vision 2035 that aims to transform Kuwait into the region’s financial and trade hub by 2035. The vision comprises six development plans, the first of which, the 2010-2014 development plan, was approved by the national assembly in 2010. The vision aims at stimulating GDP growth and encouraging the role of the private sector in the economy. Accordingly, half of the projects under the development plan will be implemented by the private sector, either through traditional tendering processes in Kuwait (Central Tendering Committee) or Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). In addition, the national vision will increase investment to raise oil and natural gas production, and diversify the economy away from oil through the promotion of key non-oil related sectors. The main emphasis will be on the services sector, which includes telecommunications, transportation, real estate, education and health. Services are the second contributor to GDP after oil and gas and employ 70% of Kuwaiti nationals.
The State of Kuwait was the first country among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China more than 40 years ago. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and China, bilateral relations in the fields of politics, economy, culture, and education have enjoyed and gained a steady development due to the real desire of both sides to further develop them.
To further develop and strengthen the relationship between Kuwait and China, the State of Kuwait was the first country among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to open a Consulate General in Hong Kong in 1999. Since then, relations between the State of Kuwait and Hong Kong S.A.R. and Macau S.A.R. have developed progressively. Over the last years, a myriad of high level official delegations and a large number of Kuwaiti businessmen and tourists have visited Hong Kong and Macau.
Over the past years, Kuwait and Hong Kong have signed bilateral agreements such as the Investment Promotion and Protection, Economic and Technical Co-operation, Avoidance of Double Taxation, and Air Services agreements. Furthermore, the Consulate General of Kuwait in Hong Kong and Macau is coordinating and cooperating with relevant organizations to further enhance relations between the private sectors in Kuwait and Hong Kong and Macau.
I look forward to further extending ties and promoting cooperation between the State of Kuwait and Hong Kong S.A.R. and Macau S.A.R. in a variety of fields. Finally, I hope that in the Year of the Snake, we will witness more developments in relations between Kuwait and Hong Kong and Macau. I wish the distinguished readers a happy Chinese New Year.
Bader S. Al-Tunaib
Doyen of the Consular Corps &
Consul General of the State of Kuwait