Kuwait - Country Commercial Guide
Market Opportunities

Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.

Last published date: 2021-03-16

Kuwait is undergoing significant expansion in the building and construction industry. The government has approved a $104 billion National Development Plan that includes construction of major roadways, a new airport terminal, new hospitals, new residential developments, a new Kuwait University campus, a new oil refinery, oil exploration, new power projects, and a new railway and metro system. Private construction and project development, as in other GCC urban centers, are planned and expected to move forward in the future.

The U.S. Commercial Service in Kuwait has identified numerous project opportunities coming online over an extended period of time. These projects include a proposed $10 billion expansion in desperately needed electricity generation capacity (B.O.T. projects), investment in environmental cleanup projects, as well as defense and security opportunities.

The traditional import sectors of automotive, oil and gas, computers/ICT, telecommunications equipment, and construction equipment remain strong.. There is a shortage of high-quality health care facilities and the Government of Kuwait is prioritizing healthcare infrastructure as part of the national development plan.  The Government is focused on improving the IT/cybersecurity capabilities as well as enhancing efficiencies through the digitization of the oil & gas sector.  As the Government implements projects, U.S. companies in the construction sector are in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities since the majority of building materials are imported. As the need for educational platforms continues, particularly since the Ministry of Education evaluates enhancing technical capabilities.  All of these factors bode well for high-end exports that already have GCC exposure.

Transportation equipment (including automobiles, auto parts and accessories, and aircraft) accounts for 44% of U.S. exports to Kuwait. U.S. high-end medical equipment has great promise, as clinics and hospitals are being upgraded. Oil and gas field equipment, electric generator sets, building materials and supplies, and information technology are also leading American export sectors. The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries are actively pursuing new U.S. sources for equipment and services. The Commercial Service organizes Kuwaiti delegations to U.S. trade shows in these key sectors. It also supports medical, aviation, defense, and oil and gas trade shows in the GCC region, in addition to organizing inbound U.S. supplier delegations and outbound foreign buyer delegations to U.S. trade shows.

In short, Kuwait is a wealthy country with savvy businesspeople in the private sector. The dominant public sector moves slowly, at a glacial pace. Patience, persistence, and a strong local partner are important contributors to success.