Kuwait Essay

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Although very small in territory, Kuwait occupies an extremely important place in global geopolitical and economic discussions because of its natural resources. Kuwait has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves and, as such, is the fourth-richest (in per capita income) country in the world. Its importance has grown with rising worldwide demand for oil connected to the economic expansion of China, India, and other developing nations.

Kuwait is situated in the Middle East (southwest Asia). It lies at the northwest corner of the Persian Gulf and is surrounded by Iraq to the north and  north- west, Saudi Arabia to the south and southwest, and the Persian Gulf to the east. The capital of Kuwait City serves as the country’s political and economic center. Other major cities are Ar Rawdatayn, Al Jahra, Ash Shuwaykh, As Salimiyah, Az Zawr, and Al Wafrah.

Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world (17,820 sq. km). It is mostly desert, with the exception of salt marshes around Kuwait Bay and coastal dunes in the eastern part of the country. It is the only country in the world without rivers, natural lakes, water reservoirs, or mountains. The warm tropical climate is typical of desert regions: Summer (from May to November) is extremely hot and dry with temperatures exceeding 113 degrees F, while winter (from December to February) is cool with average temperatures around 56 degrees F.

Kuwait’s population is estimated to be between 3 and 3.5 million people. Interestingly, Kuwaitis are a minority in their own country since approximately 2 million residents of Kuwait are non-nationals. Although they are in the minority, Kuwaitis control political and business life through a freely elected legislature. Approximately 57 percent of the population are Arab, 39 percent are Asian, and 4 percent are classified Bidoon (stateless Arab residents of Kuwait). The population in Kuwait is relatively young, with a median age of 26 years and a population growth rate of 3.6 percent.

Independent Kuwait is a relatively young country. Although evidence shows that Kuwaiti territory has been used as a trading post for centuries, the modern history of Kuwait begins in the 18th century when Kuwait Сity was established. Ottoman Еurks and other Arab groups threatened Kuwait in the 19th century, so Kuwait’s ruling Al-Sabah family requested protection from Great Britain. Great Britain protected Kuwait and oversaw its foreign relations from 1899  until 1961, when on June 19, Kuwait became an independent nation. The Al-Sabah family ruled Kuwait from its inception with the exception of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the early 1990s (August 1990 until February 1991). Today, Kuwait is a constitutional emirate ruled by princes (emirs) from the Al-Sabah family.

Kuwait has a small and relatively open economy that is dominated by the oil industry. It is a highly industrialized country with per capita income of $55,300. Due to the escalating prices of oil, Kuwait’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been growing at around 6 percent, which makes Kuwait one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

Petroleum accounts for half of Kuwait’s GDP and 95 percent of export revenues. The majority of the petroleum industry is state owned and accounts for 80 percent of government income. Although Kuwait has not been diversifying its sources of income as quickly as some of its neighbors (for example, the United Arab Emirates), it has pursued significant investments in construction, banking and financial services, logistics, and telecommunications.


  1. CIA, “Kuwait,” World   Factbook, www.cia.gov (cited March 2009);
  2. Paul D. Kennedy, Doing Business with Kuwait (Kogan Page, 2004);
  3. Ali H. Muhammad, “Antecedents of Organizational Politics Perceptions in Kuwait Business Organizations,” Competitiveness  Review (v.17/4, 2007);
  4. S. Department of State, “Background Note: Kuwait,” www.state.gov (cited March 2009);
  5. Anver Versi, “Kuwait Mobile Giant Looks to Africa for Growth,” African Business (v.334, 2007).

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