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Middle East :: Kuwait
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  • Introduction :: KUWAIT

  • Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 1961. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family has ruled since returning to power in 1991 and reestablished an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assertive. The country witnessed the historic election in 2009 of four women to its National Assembly. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless Arabs, known as bidun, staged small protests in February and March 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals. Youth activist groups - supported by opposition legislators - rallied repeatedly in 2011 for the prime minister's dismissal amid allegations of widespread government corruption. Demonstrators forced the prime minister to resign in late 2011. In late 2012, Kuwait witnessed unprecedented protests in response to the Amir's changes to the electoral law by decree reducing the number of votes per person from four to one. The opposition, led by a coalition of Sunni Islamists, tribalists, some liberals, and myriad youth groups, largely boycotted legislative elections in 2012 and 2013 ushering in legislatures more amenable to the government's agenda. Since 2006, the Amir has dissolved the National Assembly on five occasions (the Constitutional Court annulled the Assembly in June 2012 and again in June 2013) and shuffled the cabinet over a dozen times, usually citing political stagnation and gridlock between the legislature and the government.
  • Geography :: KUWAIT

  • Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
    29 30 N, 45 45 E
    Middle East
    total: 17,818 sq km
    land: 17,818 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    slightly smaller than New Jersey
    total: 475 km
    border countries (2): Iraq 254 km, Saudi Arabia 221 km
    499 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
    flat to slightly undulating desert plain
    lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
    highest point: unnamed elevation 306 m
    petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
    agricultural land: 8.5%
    arable land 0.6%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 7.6%
    forest: 0.4%
    other: 91.1% (2011 est.)
    86 sq km (2007)
    0.02 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.91 cu km/yr (47%/2%/51%)
    per capita: 441.2 cu m/yr (2005)
    sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April and bring heavy rain, which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year but are most common between March and August
    limited natural freshwater resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping
    strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
  • People and Society :: KUWAIT

  • noun: Kuwaiti(s)
    adjective: Kuwaiti
    Kuwaiti 31.3%, other Arab 27.9%, Asian 37.8%, African 1.9%, other 1.1% (includes European, North American, South American, and Australian) (2013 est.)
    Arabic (official), English widely spoken
    Muslim (official) 76.7%, Christian 17.3%, other and unspecified 5.9%
    note: represents the total population; about 69% of the population consists of immigrants (2013 est.)
    note: Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 3,996,899 for 2014, with immigrants accounting for almost 69% (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 25.4% (male 363,001/female 334,851)
    15-24 years: 15.3% (male 230,628/female 188,892)
    25-54 years: 52.3% (male 910,832/female 524,690)
    55-64 years: 4.7% (male 73,816/female 54,678)
    65 years and over: 2.2% (male 29,312/female 32,011) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 37.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 33.8%
    elderly dependency ratio: 3.3%
    potential support ratio: 30.4% (2014 est.)
    total: 28.9 years
    male: 30.1 years
    female: 26.8 years (2014 est.)
    note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2014 est.)
    20.26 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    2.16 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -1.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 98.3% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 3.63% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    KUWAIT (capital) 2.68 million (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.74 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.42 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.43 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    14 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 7.51 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 7.26 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 7.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 77.64 years
    male: 76.37 years
    female: 78.96 years (2014 est.)
    2.53 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    2.9% of GDP (2013)
    1.79 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    2.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    urban: 99% of population
    rural: 99% of population
    total: 99% of population
    urban: 1% of population
    rural: 1% of population
    total: 1% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    urban:: 0% of population
    rural:: 0% of population
    total:: 0% of population (2012 est.)
    38.3% (2014)
    2.2% (2012)
    3.8% of GDP (2006)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 96.3%
    male: 96.5%
    female: 95.8% (2015 est.)
    total: 11.3%
    male: 11.8%
    female: 10% (2005 est.)
  • Government :: KUWAIT

  • conventional long form: State of Kuwait
    conventional short form: Kuwait
    local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
    local short form: Al Kuwayt
    constitutional emirate
    name: Kuwait City
    geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC,during Standard Time)
    6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
    19 June 1961 (from the UK)
    National Day, 25 February (1950)
    approved and promulgated 11 November 1962 (2013)
    mixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic religious law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military or police by law cannot vote; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years
    chief of state: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 29 January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (born 25 June 1937)
    head of government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 30 November 2011); First Deputy Prime Minister SABAH Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah; Deputy Prime Ministers KHALD al-Jarrah al-Sabah, MUHAMMAD AL-KHALID al-Hamad al-Sabah, Abdulmohsen MUDEJ
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir; new cabinet formed in January 2014
    elections: none; the amir is chosen from within the ruling family and confirmed by parliamentary vote; the amir appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (65 seats; 50 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 15 ex-officio members - cabinet ministers - appointed by the prime minister; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held 27 July 2013 (next to be held in July 2017)
    election results: voter turnout 52%; seats won - pro-government 30, liberals 9, Shiites 8, Sunni 3
    highest court(s): Constitutional Court (five judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with five judges)
    judge selection and term of office: all Kuwaiti judges appointed by the Amir upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, a consultative body comprised of Kuwaiti judges and Ministry of Justice officials
    subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; Court of First Instance; Summary Court
    none; while the formation of political parties is not permitted, they are not forbidden by law
    other: Islamists; merchants; political groups; secular liberals and pro-governmental deputies; Shia activists; tribal groups
    chief of mission: Ambassador SALIM al-Abdallah al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 10 October 2001)
    chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
    FAX: [1] (202) 966-8468
    consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
    chief of mission: Ambassador Douglas Alan SILLIMAN (since 31 August 2014)
    embassy: Bayan 36302, Block 13, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City
    mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000
    telephone: [965] 2259-1001
    FAX: [965] 2538-6562
    three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; colors and design are based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I; green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords, black signifies the defeat of the enemy
    golden falcon; national colors: green, white, red, black
    name: "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani" (National Anthem)
    lyrics/music: Ahmad MUSHARI al-Adwani/Ibrahim Nasir al-SOULA
    note: adopted 1978; the anthem is only used on formal occasions
  • Economy :: KUWAIT

  • Kuwait has a geographically small, but wealthy, relatively open economy with crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - more than 6% of world reserves. Kuwaiti officials plan to increase oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020. Petroleum accounts for over half of GDP, 94% of export revenues, and 89% of government income. For the last decade, high oil prices have generated budget surpluses despite increasing budget expenditures, particularly on wage hikes for public sector employees. Despite Kuwait’s dependence on oil, the government has cushioned itself against the impact of lower oil prices by continuous saving of at least 10% of government revenue in the Fund for Future Generations. Kuwait has done little to diversify its economy, in part, due to a poor business climate and an acrimonious relationship between the National Assembly and the executive branch that has stymied most economic reforms. In 2010, Kuwait passed its first long-term economic development plan in almost twenty-five years. While the government planned to spend up $104 billion over four years to diversify the economy away from oil, attract more investment, and boost private sector participation in the economy, many of the projects did not materialize because of the tenuous political situation.
    $283.9 billion (2014 est.)
    $280 billion (2013 est.)
    $281.2 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $179.3 billion (2014 est.)
    1.4% (2014 est.)
    -0.4% (2013 est.)
    8.3% (2012 est.)
    $71,000 (2014 est.)
    $72,000 (2013 est.)
    $74,300 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 10
    54.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    53.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    56.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 26.1%
    government consumption: 18%
    investment in fixed capital: 14.3%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 69.2%
    imports of goods and services: -27.7%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 0.3%
    industry: 49.4%
    services: 50.2% (2014 est.)
    petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials
    0.5% (2014 est.)
    2.397 million
    note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 60% of the labor force (2014 est.)
    agriculture: NA%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%
    3% (2014 est.)
    3% (2013 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $125 billion
    expenditures: $79.45 billion (2014 est.)
    69.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    25.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    6.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    6.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
    1 April - 31 March
    3% (2014 est.)
    2.6% (2013 est.)
    1.25% (31 December 2010)
    3% (31 December 2009)
    5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    4.9% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $32.42 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $30.77 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $116.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $111.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $97.53 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $94.17 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $99.77 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $100.9 billion (31 December 2011)
    $119.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $66.05 billion (2014 est.)
    $70.81 billion (2013 est.)
    $109.9 billion (2014 est.)
    $112.7 billion (2013 est.)
    oil and refined products, fertilizers
    South Korea 17.1%, India 16%, Japan 12.3%, US 11.7%, China 8.8% (2013)
    $26.06 billion (2014 est.)
    $24.42 billion (2013 est.)
    food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
    China 10.9%, US 10.6%, Saudi Arabia 7.9%, Japan 7.7%, Germany 5.3%, South Korea 4.6%, France 4.6%, India 4.3%, Italy 4.2%, UAE 4% (2013)
    $38.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $32.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $33.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $33.96 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $12.68 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $11.33 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $95.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $85.45 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US dollar -
    0.29 (2014 est.)
    0.28 (2013 est.)
    0.28 (2012 est.)
    0.28 (2011 est.)
    0.29 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: KUWAIT

  • 54.01 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    46.93 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    13.5 million kW (2011 est.)
    100% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    2.802 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
    1.395 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    104 billion bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    915,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    467,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    656,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    15.51 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    18.18 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    2.664 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    1.798 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    105.7 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: KUWAIT

  • 510,000 (2012)
    5.526 million (2012)
    general assessment: the quality of service is excellent
    domestic: new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and open-wire and fiber-optic cable; a mobile-cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwait, and the country is well supplied with pay telephones
    international: country code - 965; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 6 (3 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean, and 2 Arabsat) (2011)
    state-owned TV broadcaster operates 4 networks and a satellite channel; several private TV broadcasters have emerged since 2003; satellite TV available with pan-Arab TV stations especially popular; state-owned Radio Kuwait broadcasts on a number of channels in Arabic and English; first private radio station emerged in 2005; transmissions of at least 2 international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
    AM 6, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
    13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)
    2,771 (2012)
    1.1 million (2009)
  • Transportation :: KUWAIT

  • 7 (2013)
    total: 4
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 3
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m:
    2 (2013)
    4 (2013)
    gas 261 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2013)
    total: 6,608 km (2010)
    total: 34
    by type: bulk carrier 2, carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 19
    registered in other countries: 45 (Bahamas 1, Bahrain 5, Comoros 1, Libya 1, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 2, Panama 12, Qatar 6, Saudi Arabia 4, UAE 10) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi
  • Military :: KUWAIT

  • Kuwaiti Land Forces (KLF), Kuwaiti Navy, Kuwaiti Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya; includes Kuwaiti Air Defense Force, KADF), Kuwaiti National Guard (KNG) (2013)
    17-21 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription suspended (2012)
    males age 16-49: 1,002,480
    females age 16-49: 616,958 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 840,912
    females age 16-49: 523,206 (2010 est.)
    male: 17,653
    female: 16,232 (2010 est.)
    0% of GDP (2012)
    3.35% of GDP (2011)
    0% of GDP (2010)
  • Transnational Issues :: KUWAIT

  • Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf
    stateless persons: 93,000 (2014); note - Kuwait's 1959 Nationality Law defined citizens as persons who settled in the country before 1920 and who had maintained normal residence since then; one-third of the population, descendants of Bedouin tribes, missed the window of opportunity to register for nationality rights after Kuwait became independent in 1961 and were classified as bidun (meaning without); since the 1980s Kuwait's bidun have progressively lost their rights, including opportunities for employment and education, amid official claims that they are nationals of other countries who have destroyed their identification documents in hopes of gaining Kuwaiti citizenship; Kuwaiti authorities have delayed processing citizenship applications and labeled biduns as "illegal residents," denying them access to civil documentation, such as birth and marriage certificates; 2011 bidun demonstrations for the recognition of their Kuwaiti nationality led to several arrests
    current situation: Kuwait is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser degree, forced prostitution; men and women migrate from India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Iran, Jordan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, and Kenya to work in Kuwait, most of them in the domestic service, construction, and sanitation sectors; although most of these migrants enter Kuwait voluntarily, upon arrival some are subjected to conditions of forced labor by their sponsors and labor agents, including nonpayment of wages, long working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as the withholding of passports or confinement to the workplace
    tier rating: Tier 3 - Kuwait does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making sufficient efforts to do so; no efforts were made to prosecute or convict trafficking offenders using the 2013 anti-trafficking law or other laws addressing trafficking crimes; victim protection measures remained weak particularly due to a lack of proactive victim identification procedures and non-enforcement of the law prohibiting sponsors from withholding workers’ passports; no system was developed to refer victims to protective services; the government initiated investigations of companies that brought in large numbers of unskilled foreign workers under false promises of work and that illegally sold visas (2014)