Turkey and Kuwait's economic and commercial cooperation is increasing in parallel with their political and diplomatic relations

COUNTRY PANORAMA 17.03.2021, 16:30

Kuwait and Turkey have had strong diplomatic relations for more than 50 years, which entered a new era especially with the recovery in economic and commercial activities since 2005. The friendly and strong dialogue between our President, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the late Ruler of Kuwait, Sheik al-Sabah played an important role in the positive course and exemplary state of Turkey-Kuwait
relations. Accordingly, the economic and commercial cooperation between Turkey and Kuwait has been increasing in parallel with the political and diplomatic relations. The mutual intentions of both countries and their desire to further progress their relations were once again proven with our President's official visit to Kuwait when Sheik al-Sabah died on September 29, 2020, and Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah succeeded to the throne.

Especially after Kuwait placed Turkey among its priority investment countries, the country started following the investment and privatisation projects in our country more closely. We can see it reflected in the trade figures. Mutual trade volume between Turkey and Kuwait almost tripled within the last 10 years and reached $1.2 billion according to the 2017 year-end data. And when we look at the figures
at the end of 2019, we see that the trade volume between the two countries was $711 million. Given the potentials of the two countries, more efforts are needed to increase mutual trade. Investments in the
Turkey-Kuwait economic and trade relations show the potential of development in many areas, mainly in trade, defence industry, healthcare, and tourism. And Kuwait's 2035 vision holds important opportunities for the Turkish business world in many sectors, especially in construction, contracting, and infrastructure. Turkey has large experience and knowledge in the area of Public-Private
Partnership Projects (PPP). I believe that we can use this experience together with Kuwait for investments both in Kuwait and especially in the third countries.


It is possible to say that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused double crises in many countries in the Middle East and Gulf region due to the slowing economic activity and decreases in oil prices. This impact was felt much more especially in countries whose economies depend on oil. At this point, I believe that the "vision programs" that were previously announced and put into practice in order to reduce the dependence of the economy on oil and direct the income from oil to other investment areas in the Gulf countries will be much more important in the coming period. And this is what Kuwait 2035 Vision aims for. As the country with the richest oil and natural gas resources in the world, Kuwait aims to become the trade, transportation, and culture centre of the region within the framework of the 2035 Vision. Under this development plan, Kuwait aims to transform its economy into a structure that focuses on the private sector, finance, and trade. I believe that this vision and the work done in this field will continue rapidly once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.


Considering Turkey's and Kuwait's mutual potential, priorities, and targets for increasing mutual trade, I believe that we have an important window of opportunity. Construction, infrastructure, and contracting sectors are the leading ones for sure; however, I believe that much stronger cooperation can be achieved between Turkish and Kuwaiti companies in the field of defence. We have great cooperation in this field, but we need to increase them. Similarly, the healthcare and tourism sectors may hold important opportunities. People in Kuwait are greatly interested in Turkey, and we
must make use of this interest. There is a huge increase in the number of Kuwaiti people visiting our country over the years. Over 250,000 people from Kuwait visited Turkey in 2018. This especially keeps the real estate industry alive.

After the pandemic, I think there will be great opportunities in sectors such as food, technology, Fintech, manufacturing, logistics, and especially the medical sector. As the DEIK Turkey-Kuwait Business Council, we continue our activities in parallel with the increase in economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Kuwait since our establishment in 2006. In this context, we are working on a
report, which we started in 2020, and we plan to launch it online in the first half of 2021. We discuss the economic and trade relations between Turkey and Kuwait in this report and focus on the sectors that we think are promising with lots of opportunities. And we are planning to launch this report with a virtual business forum that we have been working on for a while together with different institutions.


In 2016, we were organised in Kuwait as Limak İnşaat Kuwait S.P.C. We are the first Kuwaiti company established in Kuwait within the framework of the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA). KDIPA aims to attract direct foreign investments holding high added value in Kuwait. The country's legislation is constantly being renewed and updated to encourage foreign investment and
investors. As Limak, we took advantage of this and started our work. In 2017, we won the Kuwait International Airport new terminal building tender. And this tender is actually the largest tender won by Turkish contractors abroad in a single package. Limak already has six projects undertaken in Kuwait. In addition to the airport terminal project, we have recently started the parking lot project of the airport. We continue to work and seize new opportunities.

Chairperson at DEIK Turkey-Kuwait Business Council and Chairperson of the Executive Board at Limak Group of Companies Ebru Özdemir

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