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Wed 20 Jan 2016 02:04 PM

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Kuwait set to develop five islands into free zones

Plans are part of bid to boost country’s 'regional and international competitiveness'

Kuwait set to develop five islands into free zones
Kuwait

Kuwait is planning to develop five islands off its coastline into business free zones, part of the country’s bid to diversify its economy away from its focus on energy, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Supreme Council for Planning and Development is studying plans to develop the islands of Boubyan, Failaka, Warba, Miskan and Awha, the Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

The plans were presented on Tuesday to Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, at Bayan Palace by the Prime Minister, HH Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah and members of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development.

The free zone plans will be based on international models and will depend on foreign investment to bring to fruition, the report added.

While the exact details of the development plans or possible costs and timelines were not made public, the report said it was part of the Emir’s aim to boost Kuwait’s “regional and international competitiveness.”

According to World Economic Forum’s recent Global Competitiveness Index 2015–2016 Rankings, Kuwait ranks 34th in the word, up from 40 the previous year. However, while it had improved, it still lags behind its regional rivals, with Qatar 14th, the UAE 17th and Saudi Arabia 25th.

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