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The Emirate of Kuwait is located in the north east of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. Kuwait is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq to the north and the Persian Gulf to the east. Covering an area of 17,820 square miles, Kuwait has an estimated population of about 2.6 million. The majority of the population resides in Kuwait City, the largest and capital city of Kuwait.

The currency of Kuwait is the Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD) and as of December 2007 the Dinar was the highest-valued currency unit in the world.

Kuwait is a member of most international organisations, including the Arab league, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), United Nations, OPEC and WTO.

The Kuwait national assembly has recently approved ambitious development plans to boost the economy.

In total there will be 1,100 projects with an estimated spend of US $125bn.

These projects will be implemented by the Mega Projects Agency (MPA) which will include;

• The creation of a new business hub to be called Silk City.
• A new metro and railway network.
• Extra funding on new cities, services and infrastructure especially education and health.
• A substantial container harbour and a causeway 25km in length.
• Major investment in the oil sector to increase production capacity and improve current facilities. An increase in natural gas production is also on the agenda.

Other projects include 3 new housing communities, a hospital, a bridge and expansion of the main port. In addition, 70,000 new homes will be built by 2015.

Kuwait International Airport is due for expansion with a new terminal building to be constructed along with a new third runway.

Failaka Island, located in the Persian Gulf, off Kuwait City has great historical significance and will be developed as a major tourist resort. It will include 20 hotels, golf-course, a marine park and four marinas in an effort to place Kuwait firmly on the Middle-East tourist map.


The CIA Factbook in 2011 estimated Kuwait’s GDP $176.7 billion and a per capita income of US$42,200. Kuwait's human development index (HDI) stands at 0.916, the second highest in Middle East after Israel and the highest in the Arab world.

Kuwait has a small but flourishing open economy which is driven by the country’s oil industry. Rich with natural resources, the emirate has self-reported crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - about 9% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 95% of government income.

Other major industries include shipping, construction, cement, construction materials, water desalination and financial services. Kuwait’s seas have plentiful fish and shrimp allowing for large scale commercial fishing.

In 2009 Kuwait’s parliament approved a $140 billion plan that aimed to diversify the economy away from oil, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy.

In 2010 Kuwait’s exports was estimated to be worth $104.3 billion. It’s most important trading partners are South Korea 18.3%, Japan 14.2%, India 13.4%, China 9.9% and US 8.7%.

Kuwait imports $21.96 billion of products per year, with products ranging from food and textiles to vehicles and machinery. Main suppliers are the United States, Japan, Germany, China and Saudi Arabia.


Kuwait has a modern, well maintained transport system.

There is currently no railway system in the country so most people travel by automobile, utilising the highways that extend for 5,749 km. Numbers of vehicles in the country have steadily grown, and in 2010 the number of vehicles registered in Kuwait reached 1,507,713. To combat this rise and subsequent congestion, the government plans to construct US$11 billion rail network which will include a city metro for its capital.

Kuwait International Airport serves as the principal hub for international air travel. Located in Farwaniyah, 15.5 kilometers south of Kuwait City, the airport moves 8,125,617 passengers and 197,214 metric tons of freight per year. To increase passenger handling, the construction of a new terminal is underway, due for completion by 2014.

Kuwait has one of the largest shipping industries in the Persian Gulf region. The Kuwait Ports Public Authority manages and operates ports across Kuwait. The country’s principal commercial seaports are Shuwaikh and Shuaiba which handle a combined cargo of over 20 million tons a year.

Mina Al-Ahmadi, the largest port in the country, handles most of Kuwait's oil exports. In 2004. Bubiyan Island is being developed into a commercial seaport which is expected to be operating with an initial four berths by 2015.


The total size of the labour force is estimated to be 2.24 million with non Kuwaiti’s representing about 60% of the workers. The net migration rate of the country stood at 16.01, the third highest in the world. The immigration of expatriate workers to Kuwait is expected to continue to drive overall population growth within the state.

There are many Indian nationals living in Kuwait with a lesser amount of Egyptians, Syrians and Iranians.

Kuwait’s education system has been an area of extensive governmental focus, resulting in the country becoming a regional leader of inclusive education and achieving a 94% literacy rate.

Kuwait offers its citizens free education, including free food, clothing, books and transportation from kindergarten through to the final year of college. The largest university is Kuwait University which is free for Kuwaitis. There are also a number of private institutions such as American University of Kuwait, Gulf University of Science and Technology and Maastricht Business School Kuwait.

The recommended business etiquette for males is a suit, long sleeve shirt and a tie.

Business Costs

There is no personal income tax system in Kuwait either on salaries or on income from commercial activities. A corporate tax of 15% is levied only on foreign companies operating in Kuwait. There are no other taxes of any consequence, such as sales, property or VAT.

Highly skilled and experienced non-Kuwaiti professionals in many sectors can expect to earn excellent salaries.

There is also a large proportion of unskilled workers, employed in the private sector on lower average wage. To ensure these workers fair pay, the government in 2010 introduced a minimum wage of 60 Kuwait Dinars ($209) per month.

New labour laws have also recently come into effect that endeavours to improve conditions for many workers.
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