Kuwait’s economy has diversified significantly from its historical reliance on oil revenue. While energy remains a critical sector, the government has actively pursued economic diversification to ensure long-term sustainability. As part of its commitment to sustainability, Kuwait is exploring renewable energy projects, including solar and wind power. UK SMEs specialising in renewable technologies can tap into this evolving market.
Additionally, and in regard to Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), the Kuwaiti government is actively seeking private sector participation in various projects, including energy, transportation, and healthcare. This opens doors for international investors and UK businesses to collaborate on mutually beneficial ventures with the Kuwaiti government.
Whilst the UK’s strengths in various sectors (education, financial services, energy & infrastructure etc) align well with Kuwait’s growth areas, ample opportunities are on offer for UK SMEs and solutions providers in industries including,
- Infrastructure Development
Kuwait is investing heavily in infrastructure projects, including transportation, real estate, and urban development (such as the Silk City and the expansion of the Kuwait International Airport). In Q1 2023, the Kuwaiti government approved 239 projects with a combined value of around GBP 2.48 billion for the fiscal year 2023-2024. The country’s commitment to upgrading its physical infrastructure presents ample opportunities for UK SMEs operating within construction, engineering, and architectural sectors.
- Technology and Innovation
The rise of digital transformation globally has not bypassed Kuwait. With the government’s ‘New Kuwait’ vision placing a strong emphasis on technology and innovation, the country has embraced digital transformation, driving growth in sectors such as information technology, e-commerce, fintech and smart cities. Whilst this has paved the way for startups and tech companies, UK tech solutions providers too can tap into a supportive ecosystem that enables innovation and welcomes new solutions to be brought to market.
- Tourism and Hospitality
Kuwait’s tourism industry is poised for growth, with the country aiming to attract 440,000 tourists by 2024. The government’s focus on enhancing tourism has led to a surge in hotel and leisure facility investments. With its cultural heritage (recently launched Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, the largest cultural centre in the Middle East), coastline, modern amenities and new luxury hotels, Kuwait is attracting both leisure and business travellers. For UK technology focused SMEs that offer solutions for enhancing the visitor experience, streamlining operations, and providing personalized services, have a significant opportunity to capitalize on this growth.
- Healthcare and Pharmaceutical
The demand for quality pharmaceutical and healthcare services is on the rise in Kuwait. With a steadily growing population and an increasing focus on healthcare quality, there is a growing demand for modern healthcare facilities and services in Kuwait, thus presenting avenues for investment and requirements in hospitals, clinics, pharmaceuticals, and medical technologies.
- Education and Training
There are ample opportunities for international companies to partner with local institutions to provide cutting-edge education services. In the education sector for instance, Kuwait is making significant investments in technology to improve the quality of education and enhance the learning experience. The Digital Transformation Strategy of the Kuwaiti Government aims to increase the use of technology in education and improve digital literacy among students and teachers. With an estimated 400,000 students enrolled in Kuwaiti schools and universities, there is a significant opportunity for UK tech companies that offer e-learning solutions, educational software, and digital learning platforms.
The successful engagement of UK SMEs in Kuwait underscores the strong bilateral ties and the potential for international collaboration. As the business trends continue to boom, both Kuwait and the UK are poised to benefit from this enriching partnership. However, like any business endeavour in the region, success requires a thorough understanding of the local market, cultural norms, and legal frameworks. UK SMEs and exporters looking for promising avenues, should keep a close eye on Kuwait’s thriving business ecosystem.
For more information on doing business in Kuwait, please contact: