Since oil began to be mined in 1946, Kuwait has developed into a major oil and gas exporter. Petroleum products form the basis of the economy, but since oil is a finite resource, Kuwait has made major investments abroad. This turned out to be a wise policy as the Iraqi occupation army set fire to almost all oil sources in an attempt to stave off the country’s economic base. However, the damage turned out to be significantly less than expected. Despite its large oil riches, the country’s economy has not developed as positively in the 1990s as in other oil-rich countries.
Agriculture and fishing
Only 0.2 percent of Kuwait’s area is agricultural land, and agriculture’s contribution to GDP is insignificant. The extreme desert climate and the lack of arable land have made it difficult to develop sustainable agriculture. During periods, the state has prioritized agricultural development, for example through the expansion of irrigation facilities, but so far without much success. The most important agricultural products are dates and vegetables, in addition, large investments in livestock breeding (sheep, cattle, poultry).
The fishing industry has long traditions in Kuwait, and the country has a relatively large fishing fleet.
Minerals and energy
Kuwait lacks mineral deposits but the country is rich in oil and natural gas. Oil was discovered in Burqan (the world’s largest oil field outside Saudi Arabia) in 1938, but was first mined in 1946 by the British-American Kuwait Oil Company. The oil industry was nationalized in 1977 and has since been managed by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). The most important oil fields are Burqan, al-Maqwa and al-Ahmadi and ar-Rawdatayn. In addition, oil is extracted at several locations offshore as well as in the previously neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In 2006, the country’s first major natural gas deposit was discovered in connection with the discovery of a new oil field.
In 2011, the country’s known oil reserves were estimated to amount to approximately 7 percent of the world’s total reserves. In 2010, oil production was 2.5 million barrels per day, which corresponds to 3 percent of world production. In 2010, natural gas reserves amounted to 1 percent of the world’s known reserves, and production amounted to 3.5 percent of world production.
The country’s needs for electricity are mainly covered by oil, but extensive investments in solar energy are ongoing.
The oil dominates Kuwait’s industry, but in addition to the petrochemical industry there is also the fish, construction and artificial fertilizer industry, the chemical industry and a smaller shipyard. The effort to reduce oil dependency by diversifying the industry is hampered by a shortage of raw materials, dependent on imported labor, high labor costs and a limited domestic market. Instead, Kuwait has made major investments abroad, partly through shareholdings in companies in the US and Europe, and partly through joint ventures in Bahrain and other states around the Persian Gulf. In 2017, industry contributed 59 percent to GDP.
Oil and petroleum products account for 90 percent of the export value; the most important recipient countries are South Korea, China and Japan. Furthermore, fertilizers and fish are exported, especially to other Arab countries. Imports, which mainly consist of food, building materials, transport equipment, machinery and other industrial products, come mainly from China, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Exports are mostly done by the state; imports are handled almost entirely by private companies but are governed by import licenses issued by the Ministry of Commerce.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Kuwait, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
Tourism and gastronomy
Abbreviated as KWT by abbreviationfinder.org, Kuwait is not a major tourist country; In 2013, more than 300,000 visitors came to the country. Most of these were businessmen, but the country has a lot to offer even the pure tourist. Of the old, walled Kuwait City, only a few city gates remain. If you want to see how the emir once lived, in a castle of sun-dried brick, you have to go to al-Jahra a few miles west of Kuwait City. Kuwait’s history can be studied at the National Museum, which also houses the al-Sabah collection of Islamic art. The Tariq Rajab collection of Arabic crafts is also of great interest. In the capital there is plenty of modern architecture, such as Kuwait Towers, the Parliament House with shapes drawn from the Bedouin tents and the Friday Mosque. In Doha, on the cape opposite the capital, you can see the traditional vessels (dhow) in restored condition in an open-air museum. An excursion destination is the island of Faylaka with remains of Ancient Greek settlements from the 300s BC. and beautiful nature (sand dunes).
Note: the capital city of Kuwait is Kuwait City with a population of 2.4 million with suburbs (estimate 2011). Other major cities include Jalib al-Shuyukh, al-Salmiyya, al-Farwaniyya.
Kuwat offers good international hotel and restaurant standards, without local culinary sights. The menus take advantage of the main local raw material: the large shrimp. Artificial irrigation and imports mean that most vegetables are available. All alcoholic beverages are prohibited.