Leaders Kuwait 2018: Gov't official reveals project funding growth

Funding for important schemes has increased by more than 40% year-on-year, top official reveals

Talal Al-Shammari delivered the keynote speech at CW's Leaders in Construction Summit Kuwait 2018.
Talal Al-Shammari delivered the keynote speech at CW's Leaders in Construction Summit Kuwait 2018.

Talal Al-Shammari, assistant secretary general for consultation and development support at Kuwait’s General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, revealed that major project funding is up on last year in the country’s construction sector.

Speaking at the second edition of Construction Week’s Leaders in Construction Summit Kuwait 2018, on 17 October in the country’s capital city, Al-Shammari’s keynote speech touched on the state of the local building industry.

Al-Shammari shared his insights on how construction projects are powering the country’s implementation of a development and modernisation push called New Kuwait Vision 2035, a strategy for social and economic change.

Describing the conference as an “important event”, Al-Shammari said “construction activity in Kuwait [is] booming”. He went on to explain that there are 140 development projects at various stages under way in the country. Of these, 70 are in the operational phase, 45 are in the preparatory phase, and work on 25 is yet to begin. 

READ: Metro construction to begin in Kuwait and Bahrain

All of them combined have attracted up to $14.4bn (KWD4.4bn) in funding for 2018-19 – a hike of 46% in capital expenditure when compared to the 149 projects with funding of $9.8bn (KWD3bn) during 2017-18.

In his opening address delivered to 80 senior construction and development experts from Kuwait’s public and private sector, Al-Shammari said there were 21 “strategic projects” with an annual funding level of $12.1m (KWD3.7bn).

These high-priority projects include Sabah al-Salem University City Campus in Kuwait City; Al-Zour Refinery; a biofuel project that was not named; the Olefins III and the Aromatics II project, which is integrated with the Al-Zour refinery; Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah Causeway; Mubarak Al Kabeer Port; and Kuwait International Airport Terminal 2 and the east runway development.

READ: SNC-Lavalin bags $180m Al Zour Refinery contract in Kuwait

All of these fall under plans to advance the New Kuwait strategy, which is supported by seven pillars, one of which includes overhauling and modernising medical infrastructure.

“The development plan extends to upgrading the healthcare sector, where you see construction works at several projects at the big public hospitals,” Al-Shammari explained. Some of these include Farwaniya Hospital, Sabah Hospital, and Al-Adan Hospital, he added.

“There are other mega-development projects,” he continued. Ones highlighted by the assistant secretary general included Al Shagaya Renewable Energy Complex in South Al-Matlaa City, which will accommodate up to 400,000 people; a rail project; Silk City; and Kuwait Islands Development.

However, these are not the only “mega-development projects” that Al-Shammari spoke about. Work is also progressing on the Abdali project, a recreation service centre in Al-Aqila, South Jahra Labour City, South Jahra City, and a municipal solid waste treatment project Kabad.

“Essentially, the country’s long-term development plan aims to transform Kuwait into a financial and trade centre that is attractive to investors, in which the private sector leads economic activity, promotes competitiveness, and increases production efficiency with the support of institutionalised governance,” he said.

The strategy has a “values system that protects social identity and achieves a well-balanced development of human capital while advancing infrastructure, sophisticated legislation, and an enabled business environment”.

The seven pillars underpinning New Kuwait include developing creative human capital; achieving effective governance; building a diversified and sustainable economy; modernising infrastructure; developing a sustainable living environment; building high-quality healthcare; and becoming more attractive to investors.

It is part of a plan to see Kuwait ranked among the top 35 countries in the world by 2035, something that construction will continue to play a pivotal role in.

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