17 FOCUS Digitalization & infrastructure INTEGRATION international standards. Kuwait is ready to build on the progress made in the last few years which resulted in Kuwait being upgraded on three international indexes, the Footsie 100, Dow Jones, and MCSI. This has again been reflected in Fitch Agency’s reaffirmation of Kuwait’s AA sovereign credit rating amidst a pandemic. A renewed focus on investment opportunities will also be to Kuwait’s advantage considering its infrastructure projects. Philip Kotsis, partner and co-head of office for Al Tamimi & Co. Kuwait, emphasized the need for infrastructure to progress along with digitalization, with an increased digital component in all big rail, road, and energy projects. The opening of the Sheikh Jaber Causeway in May 2019 underlined Kuwait’s ability to deliver on ambitious physical infrastructure. The 22-milelong causeway is the fourth-longest sea bridge in the world, reducing the commuting time from the capital to the northern territories. And infrastructural ambition remains a key part of Kuwait’s horizon. The Northern Gateway projects is earmarked by the government as a key part of Kuwait’s plans to diversify away from oil. In maritime infrastructure, the Mubarak Al Kabeer Port will signal Kuwait’s claim to be a trade and logistical hub at the mouth of the Gulf. All told these plans will generate up to 400,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Terminal 2, an environmentally sustainable development for Kuwait International Airport, is due to open in 2023. Up to USD20 billion has been pledged to airport infrastructure projects including new passenger terminals, cargo sites and an impressive Boeing Academy to train a new generation of Kuwaiti pilots. Along the lines of environmental sustainability, Engie Kuwait is seeing increased interest from the public sector to utilize digital solutions to increase energy efficiencies in buildings. Kuwait’s future remains bright as it motors ahead on all infrastructural fronts. Together, the strides made in infrastructural development along with Kuwait’s digital switch, send a clear signal that its resilience and adaptability in the face of the pandemic makes Kuwait a unique attraction for global investment. With USD100 billion in development plans, a government actively engaged in helping change regulation and a private sector newly empowered by the forced digital switch, Kuwait stands poised to embrace a new way forward. ✖
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