Kuwait (the State of Kuwait)

Kuwait is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. As of 2016, Kuwait has a population of 4.2 million people. Kuwait is a constitutional emirate with a semi-democratic political system. It has a high income economy backed by the world’s sixth largest oil reserves. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world. According to the World Bank, the country has the fourth highest per capita income in the world. The Constitution was promulgated in 1962, making Kuwait the most democratic country in the region. Kuwait ranks highly in regional metrics of gender equality, as it has the region’s highest Global Gender Gap ranking. Kuwait is divided into six governorates. The governorates are further subdivided into areas.

Kuwait’s official language is Modern Standard Arabic, but its everyday usage is limited to journalism and education. Kuwaiti Arabic is the variant of Arabic used in everyday life. Kuwaiti Sign Language is used by the deaf community. English is taught since first grade at all schools and is widely understood and often used as a business language. Beside English, French is taught as a third language for the students of humanities section at schools, but for two years only.

Kuwait follows the “civil law system” modeled after the French legal system, Kuwait’s legal system is largely secular. Sharia law governs only family law for Muslim residents, non-Muslims in Kuwait have a secular family law. For the application of family law, there are three separate court sections: Sunni, Shia and non-Muslim. According to the United Nations, Kuwait’s legal system is a mix of English common law, French civil law, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law.

The court system in Kuwait is secular. Unlike other Gulf states, Kuwait does not have Sharia courts. Sections of the civil court system administer family law. Kuwait has the most secular commercial law in the Gulf. The parliament criminalized alcohol consumption in 1983. The parliament criminalized alcohol consumption in 1983.

Kuwait has a petroleum-based economy, petroleum is the main export product. Kuwait has proven crude oil reserves of 104 billion barrels, estimated to be 10% of the world’s reserves. According to the constitution, all natural resources in the country are state property. Kuwait currently pumps 2.9 million bpd and its full production capacity is a little over 3 million bpd.  Kuwait has a large wealth-management industry that stands out in the region. Kuwaiti investment companies administer more assets than those of any other GCC country, save the much larger Saudi Arabia. The Kuwait Financial Centre, in a rough calculation, estimated that Kuwaiti firms accounted for over one-third of the total assets under management in the GCC. The relative strength of Kuwait in the financial industry extends to its stock market. For many years, the total valuation of all companies listed on the Kuwaiti exchange far exceeded the value of those on any other GCC bourse, except Saudi Arabia.

In recent years, Kuwaiti investment companies have invested large percentages of their assets abroad, and their foreign assets have become substantially larger than their domestic assets.