International law firm DLA Piper is the latest organisation to be appointed to assist Kuwait to develop three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as it attempts to boost foreign direct investment (FDI).
The zones will be the Gulf state’s first, while others such as the UAE already have several.
Kuwait also announced in May it would establish a government authority to promote FDI as it moves towards diversifying its oil-heavy economy.
It presently has the lowest FDI of all six Gulf Cooperation Council members and has been warned that its economy could record its first deficit since the last century by 2017 unless it urgently diversifies its economy.
The new authority, to replace the Kuwait Foreign Investment Office (KFIO), will be managed within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and aims to improve legal and economic conditions to entice foreign investors to Kuwait.
A consortium of organisations are assisting the emirate, led by Skidmore Owings & Merrill Inc and also including Dar Gulf Consult and the UK’s Happold Consulting.
DLA Piper will provide regulatory and on-going legal advice to KFIB in its delivery of the zones.
"This is an extremely exciting project for Kuwait and we are looking forward to working with KFIB and other strategic partners to support the delivery of special economic zones that will enhance the business landscape in Kuwait even further," DLA Piper Middle East’s regional managing partner Abdul Aziz Al Yaqout said.
"The challenges of navigating a complex legislative environment, as well as operating in a rapidly changing one, play to the strengths of the firm here in the Middle East. This, combined with a thorough and in-depth understanding of Kuwait's economic objectives, mean that we are well placed to support the project throughout its lifespan."