A “New Kuwait” Project and the Human Capital

In the introduction to “Kuwait Vision 2035” contains a good introduction that the Northern Economic Zone Project will create about 220,000 sustainable citizen jobs in that region and at a productivity level similar to the Singaporean worker’s level. In an interview with “Al Anba’a” newspaper with the resident representative of the “World Bank” Group in Kuwait, he states that the level of the Kuwaiti student graduating from high school in terms of

knowledge and experience is equivalent to that of a Singaporean student graduated from the intermediate stage. His statement may carry some courtesy. He stated that a “New Kuwait” project is a correct orientation because it bets on benefiting from the distinctive geographic situation of population density in its north and east, a matter which we agree with. But this will not be achieved unless the concentration makes a fundamental positive change to promote the efficiency of human capital instead of focusing on material wealth.Therefore, we always call for the necessity that a “New Kuwait” Project becomes a project for small Kuwait with its entire geography, but not for its north only. Talking about promoting the level of human capital means upgrading its education and its values starting with the center, i.e. every home in Kuwait. Otherwise, the borders’ project becomes a dream that will not become real. The requirements for total reform do not stop at reforming human capital but rather extend to the necessity of facing the structural economic imbalances because they are a latent fires project and construction cannot happen as long as these potential fires are raging. The Resident Representative states that advice has been provided to Kuwait since 1961 and that Kuwait is one of the 60 donor countries out of 189 member states. They can only provide advice because Kuwait it does not need conditioned financial support and the state’s public finance is the most serious imbalance. The public budget is still after all diversification promises of its income sources are still 93% dependent on fluctuating oil revenues and 70% of which goes to cover salaries, wages and subsidies which is unsustainable. Time is now being bought by liquidating what can be liquidated from the general reserve whose liquid assets are likely to be exhausted in 2021. Reform from his perspective must be by increasing other revenues or reducing expenditures, or by both. He mentioned that Kuwait was happy to advance 14 positions in the current year in the Index for the easy practice of business, which is a good matter. But it is not enough because during the same year Saudi Arabia advanced 30 positions, Jordan 29 positions and Bahrain 19. This means that it is good in absolute measurement but it is not when compared with the neighboring countries.

The most serious structural imbalance remains, in our view, the imbalance of labor force in a country whose public sector employs about 78.5% of its indigenous labor force and supports others at a time when those who will join the labor market by end of the 2035 project are more than the current labor force, their educational level is low, and public finance is unable to absorbing them due to a veiled unemployment in the public sector. This is the greatest and most dangerous challenge for the new Public Administration.