Country Profile : Kuwait

An overview for expatriates

Cradled between Saudi Arabia and Iraq in one of the most ancient and contested corners of the world, Kuwait has a certain cachet.

It may be as oil-rich as other Gulf countries, and its architectural landscape as experimental and audacious, but it hasn't embraced glitz and glamour in the same way: perhaps it's the years lost to the Iraqi invasion and its aftermath, or maybe it's a conscious decision not to give in to commercialism.

Geographically, Kuwait lies far enough away from the Gulf travel hubs to the south to mean there are fewer tourists here. The result? A more authentically Arab feel to the country.

Kuwait remains an oasis in a land of desert plains, and visitors may be surprised by the intriguing attractions on offer, from excellent museums and galleries to a fine souq, to a corniche with beaches and lively restaurants.

Basic Facts

Capital City:  Kuwait City

Population: 4.207 million

Currency: Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)

Religion: Islam

Official Language: Arabic with English widely spoken


Kuwait is one of the richest countries of the world with a petroleum based economy. The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world.

As a result of various diversification policies, petroleum now accounts for 43% of total GDP and 70% of export earnings. Steel manufacturing is Kuwait's second biggest industry. 

In 2019, Kuwait's main export products were

  1. mineral fuels including oil (89.1% of total exports)
  2. aircraft and spacecraft (4.3%)
  3. organic chemicals (3.2%)
  4. plastics (1.2%)
  5. iron and steel (0.2%)
  6. gems and precious metals (0.1%)
  7. machinery including computers (0.1%)
  8. aluminum (0.1%)
  9. copper (0.1%)
  10. salt, sulphur, stone and cement (0.1%).

Kuwaiti Culture

Kuwaiti culture is characterized by conservative social traditions and values. Kuwait has embraced many aspects of Western culture but Kuwaiti cultural practices remain largely unchanged.

The majority of Kuwaitis are Muslim and Islam largely governs the law as well as social norms in Kuwait. 

Strong ties between family, neighbors, and friends are central to Kuwaiti customs and traditions. Special occasions such as Ramadán, Eid el-Fitr, and the Islamic New Year are centered on family.

Theatre, Arts and Music

Kuwait is known as the “Hollywood of the Gulf” because of the international popularity of its soap operas and theatresKuwait is the major centre of culture and the arts in the Gulf Region with the oldest modern arts movement in the peninsula.

Kuwait is the only country in the gulf with a theatrical tradition and Kuwaiti poetry film, radio, and television also flourishes in neighboring countries. Kuwaiti soap operas are particularly successful.

Various popular musical genres in the region, such as sawt originated from Kuwait and music culture in other GCC countries has been heavily influenced by Kuwaiti music.

Kuwait has over 30 art galleries, many art festivals and musical concerts. Its collection of fascinating museums include bait Al-Othman, the Scientific Center, and the Museum of Modern Art

Working in Kuwait

Kuwait offers the expatriate professional a fascinating cultural experience and attractive lifestyle in a location which has excellent transport links to the other Gulf states and further afield.

As its oil based economy continues to diversify into new technical fields, Kuwait It is creating high value jobs in many sectors.

As an employee you can expect:

  • Tax free salaries and commission / incentives
  • Accommodation or housing allowance
  • Flights - return from point of hire
  • Medical Insurance
  • Professional malpractice cover
  • End of service award

Health Services 

  • Kuwait has a state-funded healthcare system, which provides treatment without charge to Kuwaiti citizens.
  • A public insurance scheme exists to provide reduced cost healthcare to non-citizens.
  • Private healthcare providers also run medical facilities in the country, available to members of their insurance schemes.
  • As part of Kuwait Vision 2035, many new hospitals have opened.
  • In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kuwait invested in its health care system at a rate that was proportionally higher than most other GCC countries and as a result, the public hospital sector significantly increased its capacity.
  • Kuwait currently has 20 public hospitals.
  • The new Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital is considered the largest hospital in the Middle East. Kuwait also has 16 private hospitals

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