(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, Feb 19 (KUNA) -- High-ranking Kuwaiti diplomats and economic officials presented tremendous opportunities and facilities available for Belgian entrepreneurs to do business in Kuwait, at a conference held in Brussels Monday.
The Kuwait Economic Forum (Kuwait Vision 2035) was organized by the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) in collaboration with the Embassy of Kuwait in Brussels and with Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA).
Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of ABLCC, in his welcome remarks said that the forum represents a good occasion for Belgian entrepreneurs to find out more about the various business opportunities offered by Kuwait and to restore the image of Kuwait as a commercial and financial center.
He underlined the important role of Kuwait to preserve stability in the region.
In turn, Kuwait's Ambassador to Belgium, EU , NATO and Luxembourg, Jassem Al-Budaiwi, in his welcome address said "Kuwait is in the best position of major oil exporting nations to have a balanced budget.
"This is mainly due to our fiscal reforms, diversification, and our investment income. Kuwait's financial buffers have allowed the country to pursue an expansionary budget this year," he said.
"Perhaps the best indication of Kuwait's fiscal health is our sovereign credit rating where major credit agencies have rated Kuwait positively," he noted.
Al-Budaiwi added that IMF projects Kuwait's economic growth to reach 4.1 percent in 2018, the highest among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
As of June 2017, Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund was managing USD 524 billion worth of assets, he added.
Kuwait Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Amal Al-Hamad, in her brief remarks, said "this is an opportunity for Belgian and European companies to have more in-depth knowledge of what is available as investments in Kuwait." She highlighted the importance of the forthcoming Kuwait Investment Forum, which will be on 20 and 21 March, under the patronage of His Highness the Amir.
She noted that already 300 companies have registered to attend this forum in Kuwait.
"We ask you to come to Kuwait and have your say in this regard. You will be amazed to see the enormous opportunities in our country and the variety of our projects," she said.
Meanwhile, Cecile Jodogne, state secretary for the Brussels-Capital Region, in charge for foreign trade, in her keynote speech, underlined the importance Belgium attaches to its relations with Kuwait noting the Belgium established its embassy in Kuwait in 1965.
"Since then we have maintained a dynamic political and economic relations," she sad and praised Kuwait's role as mediator in the region.
"I would like to take the occasion to praise Kuwait in its mediator efforts and setting up a dialogue with its neighbors," she said.
Jodogne also noted the increased exchange of visits by officials and business community of both countries as a sign of growing partnership between the two friendly countries.
"The increase in trade ties between Belgium and Kuwait will be beneficial for all of us present here. All the Belgian participants in this Forum are excited about Kuwait's 2035 vision" she stressed.
Furthermore, Majed Al-Ajeel, Chairman of Kuwait Banking Association and Chairman of the Burgan Bank presented the opportunities and facilities offered by Kuwait's banking sector to traders and businessmen.
He mentioned figures and statistics which shows that Kuwait has a solid banking sector and a strong regulatory environment, and said that the Kuwait banking sector has invested billions of dollars in major projects in the country.
"We welcome anybody who wants to do business and we are happy and willing to support you in Kuwait," he said.
Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, gave a detailed overall view of Kuwait's National Development Plan and spoke about future major economy projects in the country related with the 2035 vision.
"Kuwait is taking important steps towards sustainability under a wise leadership," he stressed.
Mohammad Yaqoub, Assistant Director General for business development at KDIPA, also spoke about the National Development Plan and projects that KDIPA is working on to achieve 2035 vision.
He also focused on the leading role played by KDIPA to strengthen the private sector and invited international companies to invest in projects in Kuwait noting that the country has a transparent legal system and a young and highly educated population.
"We are the gate for Iraq, Turkey and Iran," he stressed.
Fadhel Al-Faraj Managing Director for Kuwait Petroleum in Northwest Europe, noted that Kuwait Petroleum Corporation is one of the world's largest integrated oil conglomerates and runs 8 subsidiaries in exploration and production, downstream, and transportation.
He noted that KPC's international arm, KPI, has three offices in Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg and plans to maintain its strengthened position in the Benelux market focussing on the growth and quality of its networks.
Muthanna Al-Saleh, head of markets sector at Kuwait Capitals Markets Authority (CMA) in his speech gave an overview of CMA activities and noted that it is the oldest in the region.
He said Kuwait Stock Exchange was the first exchange in the region which was established in 1983.
Al-Saleh added that CMA has a robust legal and regulatory framework and enhances investor protection.
He said that Boursa Kuwait (BK) is the only exchange in Kuwait and 177 companies are listed in BK.
Among key CMA objectives are to attract more foreign and institutional investors to the market and enhance the efficiency of the overall market infrastructure, he said.
The forum concluded with a lively question and answer session which showed the keen interest of Belgian businessmen to build partnerships in Kuwait. (end) nk.mb