“Hungarian enterprises are being given a unique opportunity to take part in the implementation of Kuwait’s economic development plan”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced in a telephone interview with Hungarian news agency MTI during talks in Kuwait City.
“Kuwait has an extremely positive view of Hungary and supports the expansion of Hungarian enterprises on the Kuwaiti market in view of the fact that Budapest strongly condemned Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and because Hungary took part in the reconstruction of Kuwait following the first Gulf War”, he added.
“There will be several major projects going on in the country within the framework of the New Kuwait economic development plan, for which reason Eximbank has opened a 510 million euro credit line to support efforts by Hungarian enterprises to enter the market”, he told the press.
According to Mr. Szijjártó, there are for areas in which Kuwait is particularly counting on the involvement of Hungarian enterprises, the first being the field of IT security, where cooperation is in an advanced stage in view of the fact that a Hungarian company is already providing cyber security services to Kuwait’s largest internet service provider.
“The second area is water management, because expanding its low water stocks is a major task for Kuwait. If the current trend continues, by 2050 Kuwait will have to spend all the revenue it generates from oil on distilling sea water, and accordingly the country is searching for solutions to its water scarcity problem, and this is something that Hungarian water management experts and Budapest Waterworks can help with”, he said.
The Minister mentioned healthcare as a third possible are of cooperation, explaining that major hospital development projects are beginning in the country and that Kuwait is counting on the Hungarian healthcare and pharmaceutical industries to ship medical equipment and medicines.
The fourth area is the oil industry, in which Kuwait’s state oil company and Hungarian oil company MOL are continuing to search for joint investment opportunities in third countries, Mr. Szijjártó said.
Relations between the two counters are also continuously developing within the field of tourism: last year Kuwaiti citizens applied for 18 percent more Hungarian visas than in the previous year. According to Mr. Szijjártó, this is partly because the Hungarian visa issuing centre opened in Kuwait City last year offers much faster processing, meaning that from this perspective Hungary is much more competitive that many other countries. “Kuwaitis who visit or invest in Hungary value its excellent security, which is partly the result of the fact that there are no illegal immigrants in Hungary thanks to the Government’s strict immigration policies”, the Minister said, adding that Budapest supports the conclusion of an agreement on visa-free travel between the European Union and Kuwait.
“My negotiating partners and I agreed that every country must be given the right to decide itself on the most important issues affecting its future”, Mr. Szijjártó declared.
The two countries are acting together to combat terrorism: similarly to Hungary, Kuwait is also part of the Global Coalition against ISIS. Hungary is supporting Kuwait’s bid for membership of the UN Security Council in 2018-2019, in exchange for which Kuwait is also supporting Hungary’s applications for membership of various UN organisations.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister was received by Ruler of Kuwait Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in addition to which he met with Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al Hamad Al-Sabah, the Ministers of Education and Higher Education, the Board of Directors of Kuwait’s Chamber of Commerce and the directors of some 40 Kuwaiti businesses.
The programme of the Minister’s two-day visit will also include a meeting with the country’s Foreign Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade, and the conclusion of agreements on foreign affairs consultation, education and science, and sports.
20 Kuwaiti students will be receiving scholarships to attend Hungarian universities from September. For the moment the Kuwaiti Government has accredited three Hungarian universities, the Eötvös Lóránd University of Science in Budapest, and the universities of Szeged and Debrecen, meaning that the diplomas issued by these universities will be recognised by the State of Kuwait.