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ASAR Conference 2023 heard from Mr Robert Willock of The Economist Intelligence Unit

To develop a better understanding of how Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can drive economic growth in Kuwait, Mr. Robert Willock, from the Economist Intelligence Unit, presented on the macro aspects of the global economy and the impact recent world-wide and regional developments have had on project finance and investments in the PPP sector. Willock discussed the surprising economic resilience of the global economy in 2023 despite high interest rates, rising inflation, an increased cost in food and commodities and an increasing geopolitical risk.

It was suggested that the increasing economic competition between the US and China is adding to a high level of geopolitical risk, leading to an East – West divide, which may force economies to choose sides. Destabilised relations between countries have led to the return to industrial policy, especially for semiconductors, critical minerals and boosting supply chain reliability, as governments are concerned with national security and a need to promote domestic growth and employment.

Willock highlighted the impact geopolitics has had on supply chains and the major opportunities available to emerging markets. He emphasised the belief that the Middle East was “in the right place at the right time”, stating that both geographically and diplomatically being in the middle between the US and China may be the place to be. The Middle East could be a bridge, being friends of both sides, playing an important role in global politics and economic growth moving forward.

Willock stressed the importance of a diversified growth development plan to increase GDP, echoing the concern of Mr. Ahmed Barakat (managing partner at ASAR) that reliance on a single industry was not ideal for economic prosperity. Mr. Willock suggested that PPPs present opportunities towards further growth in the economy and economic diversification for Kuwait moving forward. Willock’s presentation highlighted the rapidly changing global economic landscape and the importance of PPPs.

Being the premier PPP practice in Kuwait, ASAR is the preferred PPP professional advisor. It has advised both the government and private sector on PPP projects and can help companies navigate through the PPP process in Kuwait. In closing, Kuwait can drive economic growth through transformative PPPs, with ASAR at the helm, benefiting the Kuwaiti people, adding value to the planet and ensuring sustainability for future generations.

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