Cooperation between Kuwait and the World Bank first began in the mid-1970s as part of a broader development program with the GCC. The scope of technical assistance expanded in the early 1990s and later in 2002 to support the implementation of a package of structural reforms. In 2006, both partners agreed to develop a three-year strategic framework to better guide the growth of the Technical Cooperation Program (TCP). As a result of this multi-year program, the World Bank Kuwait Office was established in January 2009. The office is funded by the Kuwait Ministry of Finance. Over the period from 2010-2015, a second Country Strategy was approved contributing to the accelerated growth of the Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) program.
A new World Bank country strategy, spanning a five-year period from FY 2016-2020 has been developed to support the government enhance public sector policy reforms, promote non-oil business growth and job creation, improve human capital outcomes for economic competitiveness and boost critical infrastructure development. Kuwait’s National Development Plan priorities drive the World Bank’s country strategy.
The current program is structured around these four strategic themes:
• Improving Public Sector Performance and Citizen Accountability
• Strengthening Private Sector Development Toward Greater Economic Diversification
• Enhancing Human Development for Sustainable Growth
• Promoting Infrastructure Development and Urban Management
The RAS portfolio in Kuwait is one of the largest in the World Bank. It has grown over five times in the past five years. Key programs cover the areas of education, SME, and land management modernization. The education program has evolved into a $37 million multi-year strategic partnership between the Bank and the Ministry of Education in support of education reforms with an emphasis on improving the quality of teaching and learning in schools.
Building on earlier engagements with the Kuwait SME Fund, the Bank is now supporting the implementation of significant institutional and policy with the goal of building up a sustainable ecosystem for reforms to advance SME development. In the area of land management, the Bank has partnered with the Ministry of Finance and a National Land Committee to implement a multi-year comprehensive reform effort designed to modernize the land management system in the country. The effort aims to develop new legislation, new policies and support the establishment of a new Land Authority in Kuwait.