20 November 2013, Monrovia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the head of a high-level delegation, departed the country Sunday for official visits to the oil-rich State of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Belgium, to attend, respectively, the 3rd African-Arab Summit, pay a Working Visit to the Dubai, and participate in the 2013 European Development Days forum.
According to the Executive Mansion, President Sirleaf’s first stop will be a four-day visit to Kuwait where she will attend the 3rd African-Arab Summit, taking place at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on November 19 and 20.
The Summit, which theme is “Partners in Development and Investment,” will focus mainly on trade and investment issues that would impact positively on the peoples of the two regions. At its conclusion, the Summit will adopt a declaration and resolutions to advance the achievement of the aims of the partnership. The first such Summit was held in Cairo, Egypt, in March 1977. Three decades later, the event was revived at a 2nd Summit held in October 2010 in Sirte, Libya.
While in Kuwait City, President Sirleaf will hold bilateral meetings with the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and other government officials in the interest of the Government and people of Liberia.
Though it is not stated, it is believe that Presidents Sirleaf and Kuwaiti officials will discuss the reported oil finds in Liberia, as Kuwaiti government has used oil resources wisely to build the country and improve the living standards of the people.
The discovery of oil in 1934 transformed the economy. Kuwait’s enormous oil reserve of 94 billion barrels and huge quantities of natural gas have provided the base for an economic presence of worldwide significance. The Kuwaiti standard of living was among the highest in the Middle East and in the world by the early 1980s.
Oil wealth has stimulated trade, fishery development, and service industries. The government has used its oil revenues to build ports, roads, an international airport, a seawater distillation plant, and modern government and office buildings. The public has also been served by the large-scale construction of public works, free public services, and highly subsidized public utilities, transforming Kuwait into a fully developed welfare state. Prudent management of budgetary allocations and development priorities, as well as substantial interest from overseas investment, helped cushion the adverse impact of the collapse of the Souk al-Manakh–an unregulated curbside securities market–in 1982, the collapse in world oil prices during the mid-1980s, and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. In addition, acquisition of 5,000 retail outlets in Western Europe (marketed under the name “Q-8”) and expansion into the manufacture and sale of refined oil products have bolstered the Kuwaiti economy.