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PRESS RELEASE

Towards Efficient Land Management for Development and Economic Growth in Kuwait

December 4, 2013

Kuwait, December 4, 2013 - The Ministry of Finance in Kuwait is organizing in collaboration with the World Bank a Regional Symposium titled “Towards Efficient Land Management for Development and Economic Growth” on December 4-5, 2013.  The symposium, held under the patronage of HE Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance Sheikh Salem Abdul Aziz Al-Sabah, is part of the World Bank’s Technical Assistance Program to reorganize the state property sector in Kuwait.

The symposium discusses the challenges and lost opportunities of the current land management in the State of Kuwait, and presents the recommendations of the World Bank team for the reform of the sector.  The symposium will also present international experiences and best practices in establishing transparent and competitive land markets, and in integrated land management systems. Local and International experts will give  plenary presentations, and professionals from Dubai and Singapore will present their systems of state land management.

Mr. Mohammad Al Assem, Assistant Undersecretary of the State Property sector said: “Efficient land management in Kuwait has been identified as one of the key elements of the economic and social reform agenda to help achieve HH the Emir’s vision to transform Kuwait into a financial and economical hub in the region.  This symposium is an important opportunity to explore international practices and exchange experiences in the professional management of state land for the benefit of the society and its economy. it will also allow identifying and discussing key actions and next steps suggested for the Kuwait land management program.

Dr. Bassam Ramadan, Country Manager of the World Bank office in Kuwait commented on the importance of land management saying: “Land availability and the access to it are key factors in achieving economic growth and sustainable development. Land is a vital input for establishing the building blocks of any economic and social system, such as industrial, touristic, and commercial developments and other infrastructure projects which aim at providing social services such as housing, health care and education. In that respect, transparent and competitive land markets are considered a key factor in attracting investments”.

Within the framework of the Technical Cooperation Program and in collaboration with the World Bank, the State of Kuwait has undertaken a deep review of the performance of its land sector in order to identify the key challenges facing the sector. This review revealed that some of these challenges have a negative impact on the social and economic sectors, such as the delay in the development of land and investments due to the lack of coordination during the phases of planning and provision of infrastructure, and the difficulty in access to land and in obtaining permits (2 to 4 years) that contributes to deter private investments. In this context, Mr Jaafar Friaa, Lead Urban Specialist at the World Bank and Task Team Leader, said: “The World Bank team has proposed four key recommendations: 1) Establishing a Kuwait Land Authority to optimize land resources for social and economic development, 2) Building a world class land information system, 3) Building capacity across the Kuwait public and private professionals and 4) Initiating the national public and state land inventory.”

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