Kuwait's hub hopes to wait till 2020
Kuwait City, October 7, 2007
Kuwait will not become an international financial centre until 2020, the country's central bank governor said.
"The plan to transform Kuwait into a financial and trading centre is a long-term project that will not happen overnight. It will take until 2020 to execute this plan," Al-Rai daily quoted Sheikh Salem Abdul-Aziz al-Sabah as saying.
A major Opec exporter, Kuwait wants to diversify its economy away from oil to become a regional financial and trading centre, but its efforts have been paralysed by political disputes.
Government reform plans aimed at liberalising the economy, including a bill to slash high taxes on foreign firms, are stuck in parliament due to a long-running standoff that analysts say is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
In contrast, countries such as the UAE and Qatar have used the windfall from high oil prices to power rapid economic growth and attract foreign firms.
Sheikh Salem, a member of the ruling family, said in the interview that the project to transform Kuwait would require efforts by all involved and would be difficult to execute without consensus. - Reuters