On December 20, Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold arrived in Kuwait City for his tour through Persian Gulf countries to pay a working visit to the State of Kuwait, and was received at the airport by Marzouq Al Ghanim of the Kuwaiti National Assembly (KNA).
The Speaker met with the Director General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Develop
ment (KFAED), Abdulwahab Al Bader, to discuss economic and investment cooperation between Mongolia and the KFAED. The Director General noted that cooperation between the KFAED and Mongolia has been developed for nearly 20 years, but mutual cooperation in recent years has slowed, and some matters have not been resolved.
He stated that the KFAED issued grant aid of 12 million USD to build a new parliamentary house, but the aid was spent on building a children’s hospital because of issues concerning the location of the parliamentary house. Following that decision, the Government of Mongolia put forward a proposal to devote the KFAED’s grant aid to building a new burn treatment center. He added that there is a challenge concerning the construction of the Shuren Hydroelectric Power Plant, and that the KFAED has carried out a study on the project and is waiting for feasibility studies to be carried out by Mongolia.
Abdulwahab Al Bader said, “We have an interest in collaborating with Mongolia in roads, transport, and energy.” Speaker M.Enkhbold expressed his satisfaction with projects and assistance in roads, energy, and humanitarian issues that have been funded by Kuwait.
The Speaker noted that he supports directing Kuwait’s aid to financing a public healthcare project. He said that the Government of Mongolia may make a decision on the Shuren Hydroelectric Power Plant issue. He added that assistance from international banking and financial organizations and Mongolia’s foreign partners are critical in dealing with the nation’s economic challenges.
Speaker M.Enkhbold stressed that he believes Mongolia has the opportunity to collaborate with the KFAED in mining, agriculture, construction, and tourism, and asked the heads of the KFAED to visit Mongolia to survey the possibilities for cooperation.
Abdulwahab Al Bader stressed that the KFAED will study implementing a project in Mongolia, and the Government of Kuwait will decide on issuing a loan and providing assistance. He
said he hopes for a beneficial decision for Mongolia to be made.
During Speaker M.Enkhbold’s meeting with Speaker of the KNA Marzouq Al Ghanim, he pointed out that Kuwait has been Mongolia’s closest friend in the Middle East, and a number of projects funded by Kuwait have been successfully implemented.
Speaker M.Enkhbold noted that Mongolia proposed that Kuwait host a meeting of the Mongolia-Kuwait Intergovernmental Commission in 2017 to further develop relations, and that the Prime Minister of Mongolia sent an official request to the Government of Kuwait to help overcome the current economic challenges facing Mongolia.
He also asked Speaker Al Ghanim to focus on promoting the Mongolian Prime Minister’s request. Speaker M.Enkhbold invited Speaker Al Ghanim to visit Mongolia at his convenience. During their meeting, they also talked about regional cooperation, reducing conflicts, and preventing and fighting terrorism.
On December 21, Speaker M.Enkhbold met with His Highness Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al
Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait. Speaker M.Enkhbold thanked Emir Al Sabah for a number of projects and assistance in Mongolia provided through his initiatives, and stated that Parliament is working to enhance the legal and regulatory environment for foreign investors and entrepreneurs in Mongolia.
During their meeting, the Emir noted that he hopes a project for the expansion of Undurkhaan Airport in Khentii Province will be successfully completed with financing from the KFAED. He pointed out that Kuwait is ready to finance other projects following studies and negotiations. Emir Al Sabah confirmed that he will instruct the state’s authorities to help Mongolia to the extent possible, despite Kuwait facing its own financial challenges due to falling oil prices.
The Speaker also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Kuwaiti Finance Minister Anas Al Saleh and Executive Director of Alternative Investments at Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) Farouq Bastaki to discuss economic cooperation. During their meeting, Bastaki said, “We will visit Mongolia to study possible areas of investment, and calculating the outcome of megaprojects is important, but implementing small projects through chambers of commerce is more beneficial.”
Minister Al Saleh stressed that Kuwait implemented its last project in Mongolia in 2010, and a trade task force including senior officials of the KIA was sent to Mongolia to study investment opportunities, but the task force reported that there were no suitable projects or programs to be funded. He emphasized that the KFAED and KIA are ready to collaborate with Mongolia if Mongolia offers better projects and programs.