Out of curiosity, I was checking how Kuwait is doing in the recently updated Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, and it truly depresses me to tell you that things are getting worse. I recall our last year’s ranking was 67/177, while the new ranking is 69/177 (see above). Also according to the Transparency International Oreganization, we are the mostly currupted country among the GCC countries. Sadly I can relate to this worsening ranking in more ways than one.
Seemingly, most of the curruption is ocurring within the public sector (administration, political) and it’s daylight clear that so far we’ve done nothing (or at least not enough) to fight it back. Well, I remember reading news about Kuwait intention to appoint an anti-corruption chief and to set rigid Anti-corruption penalties that can go up to 7 years in jail, but nothing as of yet.
I read this recently published survey by Condé Nast about ‘The Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the World for tourists, and to my surprise that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were among the unfriendliest cities. First I’d like to correct those who conducted the survey; Kuwait isn’t a city, it’s a country unless they are referring to Kuwait City itself. I’ll also assume that the obtained results of this survey are indeed credible. Now that being said, frankly I can’t really pass 100% non-biased judgement on this since I’m Kuwaiti and I can’t really tell how others (tourists) see Kuwait, but I think that one of the reasons here is the absence of night clubs, pubs, drinks, and generally night life that many people around the world nowadays consider an important aspect of tourism.However, not-having this kind of night life should not place us among the “unfriendliest list”. Let’s think about it for a sec, people don’t just go to Dubai (which happens to score very high ranking) for merely night-clubbing, many visit Dubai for the pleasant family experience and shopping.
I think problem with Kuwait is that it doesn’t facilitate and encourage the true concept of tourism. Yes we have numerous shopping malls and restaurants out there but that’s not everything, I know for sure that getting a tourist VISA isn’t an easy thing in Kuwait to start with. Another reason is that our culture is not tourist-oriented, we simply have to be more friendly and welcoming with people visiting us and leave positive impression. Staring at someone or a slight dispute over a parking spot should not get anyone killed after all. What are your thoughts fellas?
Unfriendliest cities:1. Newark, New Jersey2. Islamabad, Pakistan3. Oakland, California4. Luanda, Angola5. Kuwait City, Kuwait6. Lome, Togo7. New Haven, Connecticut8. Detroit, Michigan9. Atlantic City, New Jersey10. Tangier, Morocco
I read this newly published statistic by Civil Service Commission in Kuwait regarding the highest paying-jobs within government sector. Interestingly, those who are working in petroleum sector are enjoying the highest salaries followed by the auditing diwan, Kuwait investment authority, and Kuwait Airways. Conversely, lowest paying job is social affairs for disabled followed by the Public Authority for Minors Affairs and public authority for agriculture.
At least now I know exactly where my next job should be.
While having dinner (well it was Suhoor) last night at Kuwait City with some friends we started talking about how Kuwait City has changed in the last ten years with many tall buildings starting to appear. I love skyscrapers and high rise buildings, they make the city skyline look more beautiful (especially at night) and futuristic in a way. Take Dubai for example, Sheikh Zayed Road is now world famous for all those high rise buildings. So I decided to post about the planned and under construction towers in Kuwait City. So are you ready?
Central Bank of Kuwait New HQ: I’m sure you all have seen this one, it’s located in Sharq on the Gulf Road nearby Al Seef Palace. I was told the height is around 240 meters and there are 41 floors, and a multi–storey car park building (three basements, a ground floor, and 4 floors above the ground level). Below are 3D models showing how it will look once it’s completed.
Burj Al Shaya: I think it’s also called Gate of Kuwait (not sure though) and I read that it’s 320-metre high and planned to be used as a five-star hotel (Four Seasons hotel), office space, multi-storey car park, convention center and high-end retail space. It’s located nearby Burj Jasim and is designed by the same designers behind The Avenues mall and expected completion date is 2015.
Wataniya Telecom New HQ: It’s the new head quarter for Wataniya Telecom and it’s located at Sour Street next to the Liberation Tower. I remember the opening was during Kuwait National Day celebrations back in February and there was a show projected on the building exterior.
New NBK HQ Tower: I see it everytime I go to Al Hamra Tower, it’s located right across the street from Al Hamra Luxury Center. I was told by a friend that architectural design was created by renowned designer Foster + Partners and its height is about 300 meters and will consists of 60 floors plus 3 basements.
Kuwait Business Town (KBT): I saw it when I drove across Mirqab, I’m not sure what it is exactly but it seemed like a shopping and business tower. Luckily I found the video below (in Arabic) that explains the idea of this tower.
I speculated last year that Wataniya Airways may actually come back [link] to business and today I’m confirming my speculations. Yes Wataniya Airways is back in the aviation game when 51.5% of shareholders have finally come to agree on resurrecting it from the dead. I overheard that a Kuwaiti investor has pumped over 25 Million Dinar to establish a new capital.
I’m not yet sure when they will resume their normal operation but I guess this comes after they form the new organization. I wonder if this has anything to do with the privatization of KAC, partitcularly the timing? Also do you think they stand a chance in the already very competitive airlines market? I think only time will tell.
Update: A reader sent me a message over facebook saying that this is a rumor, please bear in mind that I don’t post news that are not supported by trusted sources. Regarding Wataniya Airways come back, it was published on the newspapers read here [link]. Thanks
I read on the paper the other day that Kuwait Central Bank intends to issue new notes for Kuwait currency (KD1/4, KD1/2, KD1, KD5, KD10 & KD20) by April 2014 and that the current notes will be gradually withdrawn. Above is the proposed new currency notes for KD20 which kinda reminds me of the 80′s design. I don’t have a clue why would they want to change the current notes, they look just fine to me. Probably to fight counterfeiting?
This is the 4th generation of Kuwaiti notes that we will witness in two decades. I hope if they considered more currency notes such as say KD50? especially with the increasing inflation rates.
What happened to the good old days when no one used to care about what kind of car they drove? There was a time in our lives when using public transportation was often the only means of transport in Kuwait. I remember the stories my father used to tell me about how in the 70′s and 80′s not everyone could afford their own cars so they used public transport to get around Kuwait. Would any of you get on a bus these days? I know I wouldn’t! But honestly, it is really sad that we allow social standards and so-called prestige to shape who we are as individuals. Just because it is “unaccepted” in society to be seen with out the latest sports or fanciest cars we allow ourselves to neglect the simplicity of life. But what happens when the population in Kuwait increases more than it already is? What happens when the prices start to get higher? Where are we going to go with all our luxury cars when traffic congestion in Kuwait will get even worse? The latest feasibility study that came out about the metro project that was supposed to be built in Kuwait by 2020 states that Kuwaitis have certain social standards that will not allow them to ride public transportation; so if they go ahead with the project and build a metro, no one will ride it and a lot of money will be wasted.
So the Million Dinar question is, will we ever start using public transportation just like the good old days or like all modern countries around the world? What do you guys think – Will society strip us of the simplicity of life or will we overcome society and not let the typical standards get in the way?
The least and most corrupt countries in the world (174 countries). Kuwait at 66, Lebanon at 128, UAE at 27, Egypt at 118, with Scandinavian countries being the cleanest, of course. Hmmm.. Did they get it right?