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Thu 10 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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Kudos for Kuwait

In this month's issue we showcase several flagship projects in Kuwait, which is the venue for this year's MEP Conference, to be held in junction with our sister publication Construction Week and ITP Events.

In this month's issue we showcase several flagship projects in Kuwait, which is the venue for this year's MEP Conference, to be held in junction with our sister publication Construction Week and ITP Events.

Kuwait ranks top among Arab countries, and 33 worldwide, in the Human Development Index (HDI) of the Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries issued by the UN Development Program's (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States.

As for the other five member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Qatar ranked second among Arab states (35th worldwide), the UAE ranked third (39th worldwide), Bahrain fourth (41st worldwide), Oman sixth (58th worldwide) and Saudi Arabia seventh (61st worldwide).

Representative of Kuwait and the Arab States at the World Bank, Dr Merza Hasan, said that, in terms of basic services, Kuwait had scored the highest in terms of electricity and water services. Reuters reports that the latest development in this regard is Kuwait's central tenders committee selecting General Electric of the US to build the 2 000 MW Subbiya power plant.

Kuwait, which has one of the world's highest per capita power consumption rates, is believed to be planning to boost power capacity to 16 000 MW from 10 000 MW by 2012 to meet soaring demand as the country continues its rapid development. Its energy infrastructure sector is one of the fastest-growing in the world.

BMI's Business Environment Ratings for Kuwait place it sixth within the Middle East region, with a score of 57.9. Kuwait also appeared sixth in BMI's rankings of Middle Eastern countries according to project finance. The country score was bolstered by strong scores for design and construction, but poor ratings for the commissioning and operating of projects brought the overall score for Kuwait down to 61.4.

Regional integration in the Middle East is quite strong, which may provide opportunities for Kuwait's infrastructure sector to grow further, presuming investment in the sector sees an upturn, as Kuwaiti construction and infrastructure firms have a good deal of experience and expertise under their belts.

Moody's rates Kuwait's economic strength as ‘very high', a decision based partly on the country's high level of GDP per capita, extensive oil reserves and large net external asset position. Other countries with a similar rating from Moody's include the US, the UK, France and Germany.

Such a background of strong fundamentals bodes well for the 2009 MEP Conference in Kuwait, to be held on 28 October at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Kuwait City. One of the projects to be showcased will be the ambitious City of Silk in Subbiya, opposite Kuwait City.

The project will include the world's tallest tower, several designated ‘city zones' for media, sport, culture, health and business, plus a national wildlife sanctuary and parks. The city complex, master-planned by British architects CivicArts (aka Eric R. Kuhne Associates), will also include Olympic stadia, residences, hotels and retail facilities.

Up to 700 000 people stand to be housed in the development, which is set to be built across Kuwait Bay and will be linked to Kuwait City by a 23.5 kilometre long bridge. The centre-piece of the City of Silk will be Burj Mubarak al-Kabir, a 1 001 metre tall tower almost 200 metres taller than the Burj Dubai, and almost twice the height of Taipei 101.

The 2009 MEP Conference will highlight the opportunities presented to the sector by such mega-projects in Kuwait, as well as examining the challenges of conducting business there. It is guaranteed to be an event not to be missed.

Gerhard Hope is the editor of Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Middle East.

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