ABDULAZIZ ALABDULRAZZAQ WRITES—Where would Kuwait be without oil? Certainly not as prosperous. Half of its GDP, in fact, comes from oil. But now, it seems, this has become too much of a good thing. As oil reserves dry up and the world switches to greener sources of fuel, the economy of Kuwait will be adversely affected.
The government of Kuwait has a solution. Called Vision 2035, it is a plan to transform the country into a financial and commercial hub.
This is no easy task. The first such plan, commissioned in 2010, under the previous prime minister, Nasser Mohammed al-Sabah, failed. It was too expensive. Policy makers did not support it. The plan was shelved when the prime minister resigned.
The goal of Kuwait Vision 2035 is actually two-fold: One, to stimulate economic growth of the private sector, encourage competition and increase productivity; and two, to maintain the deep- rooted values and national identity of Kuwait. In addition, the balance of economic and human development must be supported by adequate infrastructure, a sound legal framework and a healthy business environment.
The foundation of Vision 2035 consists of seven pillars: efficient government administration, a diversified and sustainable economy, quality infrastructure, a sustainable living environment, high quality healthcare, creative human capital and a distinguished international status. Investment in human capital will be particularly important. To this end, the Kuwaiti government aims to reform the educational system.
Vision 2035 is a move in the right direction, but It will take meticulous planning and implementation. Now, unlike in 2010, the country must use political muscle to move its economy independent of oil. The transformation will not be easy.