As sustainability takes on increasing global significance, Kuwait aims to position itself as a financial and trade hub by incorporating sustainable finance principles into its banking industry.

Raed Jawad Bukhamseen
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, KIB

Nearly 30% of the CEOs believe that the impact of a global recession on Kuwait will be mild and short. What are your views? What has been the impact of the global slowdown on Kuwait's economy?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my insights on the current economic situation in Kuwait. I believe the understanding that the impact of the global recession on Kuwait will be minimal has some basis, given the unique strengths and resilience of our economy. However, the question of how Kuwait might be impacted by global economic slowdowns, both past and forthcoming, is indeed a significant one. Like all others, our economy is integrated into the global financial system, making us susceptible to worldwide economic trends.

Kuwait's economy primarily depends on oil revenues, which account for most of our national income with efforts to diversify the income through other channels. Therefore, fluctuations in the global economy and oil prices are crucial to our economic performance. In addition, while there have been discussions around economic diversification, we acknowledge that significant strides in this area are yet to be made.

Nevertheless, Kuwait's economy has consistently demonstrated resilience in the face of these economic challenges which is a testament to the strength and robustness of our financial sector. This resilience is significantly attributed to the sound and precautious measures of the Central Bank of Kuwait and other regulatory bodies. These strategies have helped us navigate past slowdowns and prepared us with robust financial buffers for potential future challenges.

As the CEO of a leading Islamic Bank in Kuwait, I believe we have a critical role to play in bolstering our economy amidst these global trends. We are committed to supporting our customers during these times, ensuring the availability of financial services, and enhancing our digital capabilities to provide a seamless banking experience.

In conclusion, while global slowdowns might impact our economy, the effects are cushioned by several factors, including Kuwait's ample financial buffers, low unemployment rates, and the prudent policies of our Central Bank. We remain alert to the challenges that lie ahead but are confident in our ability to navigate them effectively.


Our report finds that the appetite for M&A is moderate to high for majority of the CEOs in Kuwait. The CEOs believe mergers can help them stay afloat in the current competitive landscape. What are your views? Do you think M&A is the way for Kuwaiti businesses?

Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity can be a strategic approach for some businesses in Kuwait, especially given the current competitive landscape. In addition, M&A can offer various benefits that help companies stay afloat and thrive in challenging economic times. For example, they provide opportunities to access new markets and customers, unlock cost savings and efficiency gains, and promote innovation by sharing expertise and knowledge. Furthermore, M&A can lead to synergies that result in cost savings and efficiency gains. By combining resources, businesses can eliminate redundancies, streamline operations, and leverage shared capabilities. This can lead to significant cost reductions and improved profitability.

That being said, the success of M&A as a strategic move heavily depends on careful planning, thorough due diligence, and effective post-merger integration. It's also important to remember that while M&A can provide growth opportunities, it also comes with risks, including cultural clashes, integration challenges, and the potential loss of key talent.

In conclusion, while M&A is undoubtedly a strategic tool that businesses in Kuwait can leverage to maintain competitiveness and growth, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. The suitability of M&A depends on various factors, such as the nature of the business, the sector it operates in, and its specific circumstances and strategic goals. A careful and strategic assessment is required to determine if M&A is optimal for a particular business.


The latest guidelines by the Central Bank of Kuwait on ESG have positive intentions toward promoting sustainable funding in Kuwait. What do you think the future of sustainable finance looks like in the country?

The future of sustainable finance in Kuwait is poised for further growth and development. As sustainability takes on increasing global significance, Kuwait aims to position itself as a financial and trade hub by incorporating sustainable finance principles into its banking industry. This aligns with the country's national development plan, adapted to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and seeks to drive sustainable economic growth. The Kuwaiti government has prioritized sustainability and implemented various policies, including the New Kuwait Vision 2035, which committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2035.

ESG investing, which considers environmental, social, and governance factors, has gained momentum as an investment strategy. As a result, ESG investors are increasingly seeking companies that demonstrate a solid commitment to sustainability. In addition, technological advancements have made it easier for investors to access sustainable investments through new platforms and tools designed to identify and invest in sustainable companies.

The growth of sustainable finance in Kuwait is a positive development for the country. It helps reduce Kuwait's environmental impact and creates new jobs and opportunities. Moreover, the Kuwaiti government's commitment to sustainability has paved the way for the financial sector to respond accordingly. As an Islamic bank in Kuwait, we, at KIB, share this commitment to sustainability. We have recently published our first sustainability report and are heavily investing in technology to enhance our sustainable finance initiatives. In addition, we are dedicated to aligning with the Central Bank of Kuwait's guidelines and ensuring that our operations and offerings promote sustainable funding.

Above all, KIB has been working tirelessly to raise awareness on ESG through internal initiatives and external activities and reporting. These efforts have culminated in KIB participating in the United Nations Global Compact, becoming the first bank in Kuwait to have acceded to the United Nations Charter.

Overall, with the implementation of the Central Bank of Kuwait's guidelines and the global emphasis on sustainable finance, the future of sustainable finance in Kuwait looks promising. The banking industry is expected to continue integrating ESG considerations into strategies, risk management frameworks and product offerings. By doing so, we contribute toward building a more sustainable and resilient financial sector in Kuwait, aligning with our collective vision for a sustainable future.


Nearly 80% of our respondents prioritize investing in technology over investing in the workforce. What are your views? How to create a delicate balance between both aspects of an organization?

Investing in both technology and the workforce is essential for the success and growth of an organization. While technology enables efficiency, innovation and competitive advantage, the workforce is the driving force behind the implementation and utilization of technology. Therefore, creating a delicate balance between investing in technology and investing in the workforce is vital to ensure optimal organizational performance and sustainable growth.

While technology investments can enhance productivity, streamline processes and enable automation, they allow organizations to leverage data analytics, artificial intelligence and digital platforms to improve operational efficiency and customer experience. However, investing solely in technology without considering the development and empowerment of the workforce can lead to the underutilization of technology and missed opportunities for innovation. Therefore, organizations should prioritize investing in the necessary training and upskilling of employees to leverage and adapt to technological advancements effectively.

We, at KIB, believe investing in the workforce fosters employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. Employees are the key drivers of organizational success, and their skills, knowledge and creativity are valuable assets. Therefore, we align technology investments with the organization's overall strategy and objectives, and determine how technology can support and enhance the workforce's capabilities to achieve organizational goals effectively. We also conduct regular assessments to identify the organization's specific technological needs and skill gaps. This assessment is also considering the evolving market trends and customer expectations. Lastly, we implement effective change management practices to ensure a smooth transition when introducing new technologies, involve employees in the decision-making process and provide clear communication regarding technology investments' purpose, benefits and impact.

In conclusion, investing in technology and the workforce should be viewed as complementary strategies rather than competing priorities. Organizations can create a delicate balance by aligning technology investments with the needs and capabilities of the workforce, investing in employee development, fostering collaboration, and continuously evaluating and improving the impact of technology on organizational performance. Organizations can achieve sustainable growth, innovation and competitive advantage in today's dynamic business environment by effectively leveraging technology and the workforce.



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