Frustrated Kuwaitis ask, why is Kuwait falling behind?

Citizens wonder why oil producer Kuwait is not as dynamic a hub for the region as Dubai or Doha

(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

With a youthful, well-educated population, strong relationships with both neighbours and world powers, and a strategic location on the Gulf, major oil producer Kuwait should be as dynamic a hub for the region as Dubai or Doha.

But while others in the Gulf have powered ahead, attracting foreign investment and developing infrastructure, Kuwait has stagnated, frustrating the people of a country once seen as a Middle East trailblazer.

This frustration is especially evident among young Kuwaitis, cosmopolitan and often educated abroad, who complain of bureaucratic red tape and dysfunctional politics, but also acknowledge complacency among their fellow citizens.

Although thousands took to Kuwait's streets in 2011 and 2012, seeking moderate political reforms, the demonstrations eventually fizzled, at least partly due to Kuwaitis' alarm over the chaos and rise of Islamists in the Arab Spring countries.

Kuwait's system of government handouts and well-paid, comfortable state jobs also blunted calls for change, whether in politics or in the state-reliant economy, observers say.

"We are very lucky that we are financially very comfortable," said Maha Al Baghli, president of the association of business and professional women in Kuwait and an advocate for female entrepreneurs.

"On the other hand, it is not encouraging entrepreneurs and hard work," Al Baghli told Reuters.

Sandwiched between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the country is one of the world's richest per capita, and more than half of its 1.2 million citizens are under 25.

Kuwait's leaders point to political deadlock in parliament that makes it difficult to get things done. But many observers say the government's frequent personnel changes, layers of bureaucracy and general ennui are also to blame.

Article continued on next page...

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Sam

Its simple really.
You keep turning a blind eye to people and their problems, and they will keep on adding to your problems.

Its very easy to simply follow what the royals in UAE (particularly Dubai) do and you will find yourself on a forward path.

HH Sheikh Mohammad is a commendable man, running this place so efficiently and progressively - which is right in the middle of the so-called *Dangerous Region*.

Sure, there are a few problems in Dubai but then the attitude to address those problems is great ! In my language, there is an idiom which roughly transliterates to *Feed your children with a golden morsel, but look at them with a Lion's Eye*.

The rest of the GCC (including Qatar) unfortunately believes in letting the problems linger on and then cry a river about issues.

Dubai has emerged as a serious world-beater and I personally wish them all the best with all of their future endeavors !

Posted by: Mosa

Kuwait has SO MUCH, SO MUCH money that they can leave any other gulf nation behind in development if implemented like H.H. Sheikh Mohammed. All they need is a leader and that's it, they can make the country as good as or at least equal to Dubai.

Posted by: procan

Open and free elections, you will find the leader that you need among your own people.

Posted by: Matt Williams

CORRUPTION is rife in Kuwait and that is why many companies just dont bother with it at some point in the game someone will come from somewhere and ask for money, if you dont pay you dont get the job and even if you do there is no guarantee you will be paid. Who the heck would want to work in these places, I think most of them think we are all a charity only here to serve them. Keep falling behind its your own fault.

Posted by: Zaka Ullah Khan

Kuwaitis have to trim their noses and start looking and treating others with same positive attitude that they expect from others.

Posted by: twit:YomalSidoroff

The Kuwaity Monarchy is correct, NOT the democracy activists.

Dubai and Qatar thrive because they are autocracies.

The problems of Kuwait are democracy, political Islam and socialism.

Posted by: Mohammed

Simply stated that addresses the core of Kuwait's problems. However Qatar, as well as, other neighboring GCC countries are making strides in their development path, but Kuwait has used its political system to stagnate their country which makes the situation in Kuwait highly controversial. The future generations in Kuwait should begin to utilize the system to counter this agenda because their future is on the line.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Saudi Arabia's new heir leads revolution of powerful millennials

Saudi Arabia's new heir leads revolution of powerful millennials

Why the youngest crown prince in living memory represents a broader...

Three things to watch as Saudi Arabia names new heir to throne

Three things to watch as Saudi Arabia names new heir to throne

Yemen, the Saudi economy and the Qatar-Gulf crisis will be high...

How Mohammed bin Salman rose to become Saudi Arabia's most influential figure

How Mohammed bin Salman rose to become Saudi Arabia's most influential figure

Profile: New heir to Saudi throne holds power beyond his years...

Most Discussed