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Kuwait ministers reach out to bloggers and journalists

Kuwait explores reform with youth

The country has tasked three men with exploring reform among the youth...

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May 9, 2013 9:47 by



There has also been more immediate progress at the multi-billion-dinar sovereign wealth fund, where the amount of money allocated for the part of the fund focused on saving for future generations was more than doubled last year.

Hajraf oversaw that change during a brief stint as finance minister after his predecessor was forced out by a hostile parliament.

The Commerce Ministry under Saleh last year also pushed through a companies law aimed at simplifying procedures and encouraging investment.

The ministry plans to issue temporary company licences on the same day the application is made, rather than having people wait up to a year for a permanent licence – a common complaint among young Kuwaiti entrepreneurs.

THE MEETING AT THE COFFEE SHOP

Some of those who attended the coffee shop meeting on Jan. 22 were disappointed, partly because Kuwaiti media turned up to what was supposed to be a private gathering and the talks veered off into daily politics instead of focusing on a long-term vision for the country.

“There were people from the outside, and they messed up the event,” Khalil Alhamar, a 23-year-old who runs the blog Q8path, told Reuters.

But al-Qabas, an independent daily owned by business families, praised the meeting as an attempt to encourage a dialogue between the government and the youth.

Young people were turned off by official speeches and were turning to social media, the newspaper said in a column at the time. It called the meeting a strange but promising attempt to change the government’s style.

“It is a breakthrough from the formal address, filled with courtesies and empty promises, which state departments’ offices routinely spew out,” columnist Iqbal al-Ahmad wrote.

Blogger Alhamar wondered whether anything would come of it, however.

“We have lots of talk but we need action,” he said.



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