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Mon 12 Aug 2013 09:02 AM

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UK consultancy to help set up Kuwait economic zones

London-based Happold wins appointment to support development of three special economic zones

UK consultancy to help set up Kuwait economic zones

London-based Happold Consulting has won an appointment to support development of three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Kuwait.

In its first project for the Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau (KFIB), Happold Consulting, the consultancy arm of Buro Happold, is charged with creating an economic framework and functional plan to help develop the zones "to their maximum potential".

The 12-month commission involves development of a competitive and best practice database, a baseline study of Kuwaiti and regional economic trends, and development of a detailed decision-making framework that will enable KFIB to establish a range of economic, financial, regulatory and institutional approaches to delivering the zones.

Dr Jim Coleman, head of economics at Happold Consulting, said: “This is a very exciting project for us... we look forward to supporting KFIB in setting out a robust strategy for the viable, long term development of special economic zones in Kuwait.

“The twin challenges of promoting economic diversification and enhancing national competiveness play to our team’s strengths and we commit to providing a highly practical, evidence-based strategy for all the stakeholders involved.”

KFIB was launched in 2001 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Kuwait to implement Law No. 8 regulating direct foreign investment.

In May, Kuwait said it will establish a government authority to promote foreign investment into the country as it moves towards diversifying its economy.

The oil-reliant country has the lowest foreign direct investment (FDI) of all the six Gulf Cooperation Council members.

Less than $2trn was invested in the country in 2010, according to analysts Index Mundi, based on figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other sources.

Kuwait, which relies on oil for majority of its revenue, is heading towards its first budget deficit in 2017 unless it diversifies its economy, the IMF has forecast.

The new authority, to replace the Foreign Investment Office, will be managed within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and aims to improve legal and economic conditions to entice foreign investors to Kuwait, it was reported.

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