(I like creating sexy titles like that because it helps gain me better hits/stats.) This is really about stagnation in Kuwait, but it can be referred to as "impotence" also.
My morning started off by checking my blog comments and by reading the feeds from other blogs. Crazy in Kuwait (Life in Kuwait) has a post about how the Kuwait Free Trade Zone now looks like a ghost town. You can read my comments on her post (and please check it out because she'g got some really great photos of what the formerly-pretty urban area looks like now).
The Free Trade Zone was going to set an example for the rest of the country to follow and to draw large international companies into Kuwait through friendly services and regulation. Ha! See how that has gone!
Reading that post was followed by a feed from Zawya.com about how the Kuwait airport project has been put on hold indefinitely because international firms are pulling out. Why? Because once again, Kuwait has shot itself in the foot, imposing unrealistic conditions for doing business here. Full story is HERE. Literally, the companies who would have made money constructing the new Kuwait airport, have decided that Kuwait isn't worth the effort! (Estimated project value: 1 billion KD!)
Here is the truth of the matter: KUWAIT DOES NOT WANT BUSINESS HERE.
Plain and simple. The country would rather flounder flacidly in the past while progress and achievements take place all around it. I mean, why bother when so many Kuwaitis can make investments in foreign countries where the regulations are so much easier, the ROI is higher, and the risk is lower? Even Bahrain has off-shores and you can open a business there in several hours.
Kuwait has literally made it so difficult for people to do business here that even Kuwaitis are seeking business elsewhere in the world; and international firms that stand to gain millions (if not billions) in construction projects here - are choosing not to do business here!
At the last company I worked for (sadly, which has now gone out of business; so much lost potential!), they tasked me with trying to partner with (bring in) international companies to work with us on projects here in Kuwait. I could only stare at them blankly. It was a task that I was destined to fail. Although always positive, the voice in my head was realistically shouting, "WHO wants to come here to do business? WHY?" Since that job, I believe it has only become more difficult for businesses in Kuwait.
Business regulations are changed on a whim. Heck, the parliament changes regularly, so why not the rules? Even if you can get your hands on something documented, it will be outdated almost as fast as it is printed. Not to mention all the negative PR Kuwait has received in the past few years on how "welcoming" authorities are to expats.
I'm an expat. I love Kuwait. I've been here a long time. I've seen a lot of changes. But, I am also seeing a lot of my long-term-in-Kuwait expat friends (including some that were born here) pack up and leave for something better. The "something better" used to be Kuwait. That is no longer the case. Even the Kuwaitis are now packing up.