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  Politics
HH Amir sponsors Kuwait Investment Office''s Diamond Jubilee celebration
28/11/2012   |   10:27 PM | Kuwait News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, while attending a ceremony marking 60 years since the establishment of KIO in London
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, while attending a ceremony marking 60 years since the establishment of KIO in London
LONDON, Nov 28 (KUNA) -- Under the aegis of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, a ceremony was held here on Wednesday to celebrate the Kuwait Investment Office's (KIO) Diamond Jubilee.
HH the Amir was warmly welcomed to the ceremony site by Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al Hajraf, Minister of Finance, Acting Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education.
After the Kuwaiti National Anthem was played at the onset of the celebration, the minister delivered a speech, welcoming HH His Highness the Amir of Kuwait; Prince Andrew, The Duke of York; and members of the official delegation.
He recalled to memory that in an article written by Paul Edward Case in December 1952 for the National Geographic Magazine, he praised the Ruler of Kuwait for his wisdom in managing the oil wealth of Kuwait.
In this article, he stated "... His Highness has elected to use his vast wealth for the good of all his people ... ." Case had the ability to foretell the establishment of the Kuwait Investment Authority.
"What was true then is definitely true today. Kuwait's wealth has been used wisely; for the current as well as for the future generations. We were able to achieve our goals through the wisdom of our Rulers and through the guidance which we received from our close friends in the United Kingdom; in the past; in the present and; Insha'Allah, in the coming decades," the minister said.
This article was soon followed by an agreement signed between His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al Sabah and Her Majesty's Political Agency in Kuwait. The agreement established the Kuwait Investment Board in London on February 23rd, 1953, he added.
The Kuwait Investment Board is the predecessor of the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO) in London and of the parent Kuwait Investment Authority in Kuwait, he elaborated.
From a modest few hundreds of thousands of Pounds deposit in the Bank of England, KIA now has in excess of 15 billion pounds invested in more than 100 listed UK equities; numerous UK sovereign and corporate credits; as well as in properties all over Great Britain, he boasted.
He went on to say: "Using London as a base for investing is logical. Our investment experience over the past 60 years has shown us that the most favorable location, other than Kuwait of course, is London. It is the center of the financial universe. Great Britain has numerous advantages which no other financial center can match. For Kuwait, the sovereign immunity treatment which the United Kingdom provides ensures that the KIA is overweight in our investments when compared to UK's share in world GDP contribution." The KIO is the flagship vehicle which Kuwait uses for its investments, the minister said. In addition to investing in Great Britain, the KIO is also an active investor globally, using London as a base. They currently manage funds in excess of 65 billion pounds globally. This represents a partial amount of funds under management by the KIA. Kuwait intends to have the KIO take on additional responsibility and manage more of Kuwait's investments from London, he added.
"London is also home to our global real estate vehicle, St. Martin's. In addition to being a significant property owner in the City, St. Martin's invests in all parts of the world, again from London.
Although the KIA is currently a passive investor through various private equity funds in UK infrastructure projects, such as in Gatwick Airport, we intend to further strengthen KIO's role in this area. Before year-end or latest by early next year, we hope to have our global infrastructure team operational out of the KIO. Their mandate would be to invest in those asset classes where the KIA has traditionally not been an investor," he noted.
"Let me share with you an area where entities from our two countries could cooperate to our mutual benefit. Independent rating agencies have given Kuwaiti Banks one of the highest stand-alone ratings in the world. Based on the World Economic Forum Competitive Index, Kuwait is ranked second globally for fiscal prudence and management. Kuwait's sovereign rating is only a notch below that of Great Britain and comparable to various developed economies," he continued.
The minister voiced much pleasure to invite all interested British entities to participate in the numerous mega projects in Kuwait's Development Plan, noting that Kuwaiti banks and vibrant private sector are there to partner with British corporations. He considered this a win-win situation for all concerned.
He added that the great financial crises since 2008 impacted all countries globally. Some of the Kuwaiti entities were impacted as well. However, in the midst of adversity, there are numerous opportunities. Trade and investments are a two-way street. Kuwait is open for business, and welcomes all UK businesses.
He finally thanked all those present in the celebration for attending today's event, saying that the Kuwait Investment Authority is honored to celebrate the Office's Diamond Jubilee. He hailed it as a privilege to be able to celebrate this anniversary in the same year as Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee and in the same year when London hosted the extremely successful Olympics and Paralympic Games.
For his part, His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, also speaking at the event, hailed HH the Amir's historic visit to the UK.
The Duke of York lauded strong and firm relations between the UK and the State of Kuwait, especially in trade and economy.
At the outset of the celebration, a documentary on the career of the Kuwait Investment Office in London was shown. (pickup previous) mt KUNA 282227 Nov 12NNNN
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