Kuwait

Introduction

The state of Kuwait established the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) in 1961 as an institution for development co-operation with other countries in the Arab region. The KFAED – the first fund to be established in the Arab world – provides concessional loans for development projects that are high priority to recipient countries. Since its establishment, the KFAED has disbursed over USD 17.9 billion in assistance to 107 countries, mostly low-income and least developed countries. It is worth mentioning that Kuwait’s official development assistance (ODA) increased between 2012 and 2017 at a time when government revenues were rather dwindling.

The fund targets projects in various sectors, notably agriculture, electricity, irrigation, industry, transport, telecommunications, water and sewerage, and health and education. Over the past four years, most of the fund’s operations were geared towards assisting partner countries in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, with a focus on eradicating poverty all around the world.

Official development assistance

In 2017, Kuwait provided USD 570 million in total ODA.1 This represented 0.41% of gross national income (GNI). Total ODA for 2017 represented a decrease of 47% from 2016.

In 2017, 93% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 1% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Kuwait allocated 4% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

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In 2017, 96.9% of bilateral ODA was programmed with partner countries, making Kuwait’s share of country programmable aid substantially higher than the average for development providers beyond the DAC of 27.4% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for all of this aid.

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In 2017, Kuwait channelled 98.8% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 99.7% in 2016). In 2017, Kuwait did not channel its ODA through private sector institutions, universities or other teaching and research institutions. Kuwait did not channel its ODA through non-governmental organisations either. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused mainly on the Middle East and North Africa. USD 482.4 million was allocated to Africa, of which USD 310.5 million to North Africa; and USD 328.5 million to Asia, of which USD 225.8 million to the Middle East. USD 171.9 million was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa. Bilateral allocations to sub-Saharan Africa decreased compared to 2016.

In 2017, 75.2% of gross bilateral ODA went to Kuwait’s top 10 recipients. Its top recipients are mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, where Kuwait has programmes with eight countries, in line with its focus on its immediate neighbourhood. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 344 million in 2017 (40.6% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 23.8% of Kuwait’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 202.3 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs). This is up from 21.9% in 2016 and is higher than the average of providers beyond the DAC of 12.3% in 2017. Lower middle-income countries received the highest share of bilateral ODA in 2017 (62%).

At 0.10% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs was lower than the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI. This includes imputed multilateral flows, i.e. making allowance for contributions through multilateral organisations, calculated using the geographical distribution of multilateral disbursements.

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In 2017, 47.1% of bilateral ODA commitments was allocated to social infrastructure and services, for a total of USD 342.8 million, with a strong focus on support to water and sanitation (USD 201.1 million) and health (USD 123 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 1 million. Kuwait also committed USD 277.9 million (42.2% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

Institutional set-up

Kuwait’s Law No. 35 of 1961 created the legal basis for the KFAED to act as an implementing agency in all developing countries on behalf of the Kuwaiti government. The KFAED acts under the overall supervision of the Prime Minister, who in practice delegates this mandate to the Minister of Finance. Other ministries, public authorities and non-governmental organisations also contribute to promoting development internationally, notably the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which can also provide humanitarian assistance. The mandate of the fund was transferred to the Minster of Foreign Affairs in 2003.

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Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Additional resources

Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED): https://www.kuwait-fund.org/en/web/kfund/home

Participant in the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Reporting to the OECD since 1970.

← 1. This chapter relies on partial reporting from Kuwait at the time of writing and underestimates Kuwait’s ODA for 2017.

Kuwait