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Foreign banks eye Kuwait’s $104 bln plan-report

Banking lobby says foreign banks want to help funding.

August 23, 2010 8:53 by

Foreign banks operating in Kuwait want to participate with local lenders in financing a 30 billion dinar ($104.1 billion) development plan aimed at boosting its private sector, state agency KUNA reported on Sunday.

The banks are keen to help finance the four-year plan parliament which was approved in February, Hamad al-Marzouq, head of the country’s top banking lobby, the Kuwait Banking Association, was reported as saying.

He did not provide any details.

Marzouq met on Sunday with representatives of 10 foreign banks working in Kuwait, according to KUNA. They included Citibank, HSBC, and Al Rajhi Bank .

The government will provide 50 percent of the finances for the plan, while the rest will be provided by private investors.

Earlier this week, Kuwaiti newspapers said the government of the world’s fourth largest oil exporter had given the green light to the country’s banks to finance the plan.

The plan which started on April 1 includes building new ports and cities, and investments to raise oil and natural gas production.

Kuwait is hoping the development plan will boost the role of the private sector in its state-dominated economy and help it become a regional financial centre.

(Reporting by Diana Elias; Editing by Jason Benham)

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