KUWAIT is planning to bring more Kuwaiti entrepreneurs to invest in Brunei that will provide job opportunities for Bruneians as part of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Investment between the two countries, said Kuwait Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah.
The minister told The Brunei Times on Tuesday that His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, and Kuwait Second Vice Chairman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abd Wahab Al-Wazzan, spoke at length on the different private sectors' opportunities for both sides: for Brunei's business in Kuwait, and Kuwait's business in Brunei.
This happened during the courtesy call between His Majesty and Kuwait high officials at The Regency Kuwait hotel on May 18 during the two-day state visit.
"His Majesty the Sultan was very gracious in inviting Kuwaiti businesses to come and look for opportunities in Brunei that will employ many people and can also return good profit for both sides. The government of Kuwait will work through the Brunei Embassy to provide more visits to Brunei to see what more possible avenues are available," said Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
"I cannot answer specifically in what field because we have to see what sector we can get. At the moment, both countries are still look-ing for more opportunities," he added.
Asked on tourism, the State for Cabinet Affairs Minister said Brunei is an untapped tourist attraction for Kuwait.
"The one thing that both sides have noticed is that Kuwaiti tend to visit Indonesia and Malaysia... and for some reason, they skip over Brunei. That's why both leaders agreed to work more closely to bring more tourists from Kuwait to Brunei," said Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
There has been discussion on how to get the Royal Brunei Airlines to have more flights between the two countries as part of the plan, he said.
"Kuwaitis are a merchant society. We are interested to visit Brunei to see the avenues of investment available," said Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
The minister said tourism is part of the MoU on investment signed at the Bayan Palace by Second Finance Minister YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim on behalf of Brunei and the Finance Minister and Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Khalid Al-Saleh represented Kuwait on May 18.
"The signing is regarding bilateral investment - investment of both parts. The easiest quick win we can gain is tourism," said Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
He was positive on the bilateral relation between the two sides because of their similarities in terms of economic development and sovereignty.
"Both countries signed the Protectorate Agreement with United Kingdom, Brunei in 1888 and Kuwait in 1899. It's a coincidence that we have similar history," said the minister.
"Both countries are small and wealthy because of God-given oil deposits. We are surrounded by very big and important countries and have outstanding territorial issues with our neighbours. Both have a welfare system that is the envy of the neighbours. Both have very visionary leaders that want the best for their people," he said.
"We are the twins that are separated. There's a lot to be learned from both sides - how will we make the welfare system; how can we maintain our sovereignty in our regions and how can we exercise soft power that we both have… There's a lot to be learned," said Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.