LONDON: Kuwait succeeded in providing all legislative and procedural frameworks to boost its ability in attracting foreign investments, a number of economic experts agreed yesterday. At Kuwait Investment Outreach Roadshow, a series of three events that started in London last night, participants underlined that Kuwait, due to its ideal and strategic location and high quality of life can become one of the major centers for investments and economic ventures in the Middle East region.

Matched by consistent oil reserves, modern infrastructure, robust legal framework, strong macroeconomics, sound banking system and low political risk, Kuwait, according to the experts, surpasses its peers.

"Kuwait's doors are open for investments in most sectors in order to achieve the development plan. Foreign investments since the 2013 establishment of Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) reached $234 million," said Sheikh Dr Mishaal Jaber Al-Sabah, KDIPA's Director General in a speech at the opening of the (Discover the Opportunities in a Transformed Economy), the first event of the Roadshow. These investment opportunities would create some 1,000 jobs for Kuwaiti youth in the next five years, "and it's our ambition for Kuwait to be within the top 40 countries in investment by 2035," he noted. The conference is co-organized by KDIPA and the Financial Times.

Chairman of the Board of the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development in Kuwait Abdullah Al-Jouan said on the sideline of the event that attracting foreign investments is being strategically utilized to benefit from modern technology and bring it to the local market.

Meanwhile, Chief Economist for the Middle East at Citibank Group Farouk Soussa, said that what distinguishes Kuwait is its ability to address deficit. "While other countries in the region are still in the process of dealing with the deficit; Kuwait is already pioneering.

Kuwait is not under short-term pressure to accelerate procedures for lowering budget deficit," he pointed out. To that, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development in Khaled Mahdi said that the country's 2035 vision aims at turning Kuwait into a logistic commercial hub.

He said that the vision also aims at establishing an effective management model, as well as creating sturdy human resources based on a diverse economy and solid infrastructure. Kuwait enjoys strong investment-grade sovereign ratings (AA/Aa2) and low political risk ratings from major credit agencies globally. It was ranked 30 of 137 countries for its overall macroeconomic environment and seventh for its government debt as a percentage of GDP (WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18). And the WEF also ranks it as the world's third most attractive tax system.

In this context, Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, Chairman and Managing Director of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in Kuwait said, "We at CMA believe of the necessity to shadow best international practices in order to become one of the best investment attraction environments in the world." - KUNA