By Andy Sambidge
Boris Johnson set for official visit to Gulf state; vows to 'iron out any difficulties' on UK investments
London Mayor Boris Johnson is to visit Kuwait on Monday to discuss Kuwaiti investments in the UK, saying he is willing to "iron out any difficulties" to facilitate deals.
Johnson said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency that he welcomed Kuwaiti investments, both state and private, in London as well as in other British cities.
The mayor, due on a two-day official visit to the State of Kuwait as of Monday, told KUNA that it was his duty as mayor to encourage Kuwaiti investments in London.
He said the announcement of the Kuwaiti Government of plans to increase investments in the UK and in London in particular were "most welcome".
The Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mustafa Al-Shimali, said in July Kuwait intended to hike investments in the UK in the infrastructure sector.
The Kuwait Investment Authority has more than doubled its investment in Britain over the past 10 years to more than $24bn.
Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund, which manages state assets in the world's fourth-biggest oil exporter, is the oldest sovereign fund tracked by the SWF Institute with an estimated $342bn in assets, one of the world's largest.
Johnson said he will meet with senior officials in government and in KIA, as well as with businessmen to discuss good investment opportunities in the English capital.
He said he hopes to attract new investments to London, while at the same time providing London-based businesses and companies the opportunity to find partners in Kuwait.
Johnson said: "We insist on seeing even higher volume, and so the Kuwait visit program is rich in important meetings, befitting the strong relations between the two nations."
The official said he would be conveying a message to Kuwaiti officials "that the English capital is a city open to investment and would provide all required facilities to attract foreign capital".
Represented by Kuwait Investment Office in London, Kuwait is among the top investors in the British capital, and the office is a main player in the British market as it manages investment projects worth no less than £150bn.
UK exports to Kuwait increased by 17 percent in 2012, following an official visit to Kuwait by British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Maybe we as Kuwaitis should be investing more in our own home as opposed to London...
Market conditions here are volatile and risky. Europe provide lower returns but a more stable investment (and regulatory) environment.
Kinda tells you why us Gulfies are investing abroad.
Must be an investment banker since you are only focused on low risk returns... How about considering economic and social development that would occur in the country due to the investments? Kinda tells you why the gulfies will never progress ahead of the West.
"Kinda tells you why us Gulfies are investing abroad" - This is called "Plan B" - The Escape Route. Most of the Ex or present Rulers/Presidents/Prime Ministers etc and the powerful who possess the bulk of the wealth of the Middle East and Arabic Nations, Libya, Egypt, to name a few, had tons of money and property abroad. If all this wealth had been utilized to develop their own nations, they would not have suffered the fates as happened to them. The Wealth of the nation belongs to the nation, and should be used to develop the nation for everybody's benefit. What is happening at the moment is not right. If this continues, one day the people will revolt. When you push someone to the corner, and they can not be pushed any further, they strike back. This is Survival Instinct. Therefore, still time to learn and heed before it is too late. I am not a Gulfie, but consider the people anywhere as humans.
The reason why he is targeting Kuwait, is not only do they have a long relationship with the U.K., but that they currently have some cash flow, and prefer not to invest in their nation. It is obvious that the Kuwaitis, who once lost their country to invading forces, continue to treat their nation with contempt. It will have to take Kuwaitis like Takha to change the mentality, because with all these young people being educated in the West on the government's purse, and the amount of billions that is spent yearly overseas in foreign countries on travel by the Kuwaitis, eventually they have to come home and they Will be compared to the development path's of neighboring GCC nations. They are stagnate and Boris wants to capitalize on it. They're weak and dyfunctional and ready to open their purse to any foreign investment, because they are at a loss on how to invest in their own nation. Very sad state of affairs. The blatant lack of leadership to move this nation forward is at the core.