Kuwait bourse privatisation crucial to attracting investments – Minister

Kuwait stock exchange’s recently ­agreed partial privatisation is an important step towards attracting and boosting investments in the local financial market, a minister said on Saturday.

The move is a “reflection of the huge strides Kuwait is taking to raise its global competitive index, improve its business climate and develop its efficiency in attracting foreign capital,”Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-­Roudhan said.

Al-Roudhan, also state services minister, made the comments after Thursday’s announcement that a consortium of firms had won a tender to acquire 44 percent of the Kuwait bourse.

The consortium includes Kuwait’s National Investment Co, Arzan Financial Group, First Investment and the Athens stock exchange. The minister went on to describe the decision as having targeted one of the government’s intended bodies for reform.

The changes will give the private sector a larger role in developing the national economy, he said. This will boost the country’s position as a regional financial centre in tandem with the New Kuwait 2035 state development strategy.

The World Bank’s Doing Business report showed Kuwait making “significant improvements” in easing investor procedures, he said, rising to 62.2 points in 2019 up from 61.4 points a year prior. The two categories in the report, which were the main factors in this progress, were facilitations provided for “starting a business and protecting minority investors.”