Kuwait has been transformed throughout the past fifty years. In terms of the society, its architecture and its people, all exist in a state that, within much of the population’s lifetime, seemed impossible just half a century ago.
Today Kuwait is preparing for the next 50 years. Extraordinary plans for an extraordinary nation - The Amiri Vision.
As the first step towards securing Kuwait’s future, a brave 25 -year plan was announced in 2010. It envisions Kuwait further expanding its role as a regional center for business and culture. As the population is projected to increase from nearly 3.5 million to around 5.5 million by 2035, at the heart of this plan is the need to accommodate this growth and to do so in a visionary and sustainable manner. In order to achieve this an overall investment budget of more than KD37 billion has been allocated.
There are plans for a new business hub to be built north of existing centers of population. This new development - Silk City - will be a beacon to regional and global commerce and signal Kuwait’s new confidence as it strides forward into the 21st century.
Linking Silk City, on the north of Kuwait Bay, with other key residential and business centers will be the 25km long Subiya Causeway, a six-lane highway, the central span of which will be the Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Bridge.
A development of Boubyan Island will see the provision of massive new deep-sea port facilities for Kuwait. They will be the biggest in the region. This development will also see infrastructure for a new free-trade zone and warehousing facilities together with a rail project to link Boubyan with industrial centers in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. The plans also include a development of the eastern side of Boubyan towards tourist and recreational facilities.
Kuwait’s status as a trans-shipment hub will be further enhanced with the opening of the new international airport which will see it extend the existing airport’s capacity to more than 20 million passengers per year. The plans include provision for a third runway and a tunnel linking existing passenger terminals with new.
A further boost to projected tourism numbers is given by the plans to develop the historical treasure of Failaka Island. This will see the construction of a huge holiday resort featuring entertainment centers, hotels, chalets, and a golf course. An important feature of the project sees the construction of a 300-berth harbour to link the island with the coast of mainland Kuwait.
Residential projects are at the forefront of Kuwait’s development. The existing urban centers have grown to saturation point. For the future, new key centers of population will be established around the new Jaber Al-Ahmad City, Subiya, Sabah Al-Ahmad (Future City) and Kheiran, the latter with the potential to accommodate 500,000 residents.
Kuwait plans to introduce the region’s first city-wide and fully-integrated metro-rail network. The Kuwait Metropolitan Rapid Transit System will include four lines and more than 60km of the route will be taken underground.
The very finest healthcare remains an important element of Kuwait. Planning for the future and catering for the growth in population whilst maintaining the same high standards, is the Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Hospital. Already well advanced in terms of construction, when the hospital opens it will include facilities for more than 1,200 beds and will offer a comprehensive range of medical services comprising diagnostic and treatment services. When complete it will be the largest medical facility in the country.
These projects, together with ones already familiar on the skyline of Kuwait, Al-Hamra Tower being the highest profile amongst them - seek to secure and consolidate Kuwait as the leading destination for business and culture in the Gulf region for the 21st century.
First published in Men's Passion issue #35 November 2011