Efforts exerted for building the State since independence reflect the wisdom of the political leadership, and stand as indicators of a better and wider horizon future toward further human achievements on the Kuwaiti arena. Therefore, it is worth mention some of these remarkable achievements in brief, without loss of content or downgrading the role of achievers, whose fingerprints are still remarkable of their works, of which current generation is proud, and which will be a source of pride for future generations as well.
The Cooperative Movement:
Cooperative societies are considered among the most important economic landmarks in Kuwait. They encompass 70% of the retail trade in the country. At the same time, they play important social and political role everybody touches. Cooperative societies in Kuwait look very much like modern commercial complexes.
The first attempts of consumer cooperation in the State of Kuwait started at Mubarakiya School in 1941 by establishing the school cooperative society. Some other cooperative societies followed in some governmental entities in 1955 like the cooperative society of social affairs department, and the education department. Those cooperatives were subject to the law of social organizations and clubs due to the non-existence of a law for cooperatives at that time.
Duly organized consumer cooperatives started only with the issuance of the law No. 20 of 1962, which handled their establishment, membership, management, control, dissolving and liquidation.
With the beginning of the eighties, the cooperative movement became open to Arab and international cooperative movements, and the Kuwaiti Union for Cooperative Societies sought membership in the International Cooperative Alliance as of March 1981.
It is worth mentioning that cooperative societies spend 25% of their annual profits on social services in their area, including organizing pilgrimage and Omra visits, providing schools and hospitals with some of their basic needs, and organizing social, educational and recreational programs for the residents of the area.
Among the leading projects performed by the cooperative societies is the establishment of a modern specialized hospital for cardiac diseases and diagnostic X-ray, with the cost of about K.D. 15 million (approximately US$ 53 million).
Kuwait realized the dimensions of social security as a social and humanitarian case. This urged it to early establish social systems through which it can guarantee a good source of income for those unable to work. The law of public aid and then the law of social security was issued to organize social security.
The Law of Public Aid:
The first step in this humanitarian direction took place in 1995, where all aids were assigned to the Department of Social Affairs, which in turn set basic rules for the same, depending on social research of every case of the beneficiaries including cases of total disability to work due to injury, aging, death of family breadwinner, or the occurrence of disasters and calamities as a result of fire, floods or rain. The number of cases receiving such aids at that time reached 613 families with the total amount of about four thousand Kuwaiti Dinars.
After the independence of the State of Kuwait and the issuance of its constitution on 1962, it was necessary to issue a law that organizes such aids. This took place in 1968, and the issued law then covered the following cases: widows, divorced women, orphans, sick people, disabled people, families of imprisoned persons, families of those laid off from work, financially disabled, and those reaching old age, in addition to families who have students, non-working women, and unmarried women.
Kuwait considers social security as a basic right for all its citizens, and an important element of social and economic stability. The social security system considers the individual's nationality as a Kuwaiti citizen, regardless of his group, or the source of income he depends on for covering his life requirements. The umbrella of social security extends to all citizens via ensuring the breadwinner.
The law of social security No. (61) of 1976 (composed of 132 articles) was issued based on the text of the seventh article of the Kuwaiti constitution: "..cooperation and compassion form a strong bond among citizens", and the text of the eleventh article thereof ".. the government ensures to provide assistance to citizens in case of aging, sickness or disability to work and provides them with social security services, social aid and health care.
In October 1977 the broad conception of social insurance began to be applied to civil citizens working for an employer (government – oil sector – private). A few years later, the coverage expanded to include citizens in different work activities. Currently, the insurance coverage of citizens reached its highest level of 100%.
The social security system in the State of Kuwait is distinguished by its quality, and the highest level privileges provided by the government to its citizens. This is basically due to the support and care of the government to this system, in addition to the unique style of providing insurance service via the Public Authority for Social Security.
The Public Authority for Minors Affairs:
The Public Authority for Minors Affairs (PAMA) was established in 1938, during the reign of the late Sheikh Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait at that time, with the humanitarian and noble objective of being the guardian of minors who have no guardian, the attached, the incapacitated, and the lost, for protecting their monies and maintaining their properties.
PAMA is supervised by the Minister of Justice in his capacity and has all the capacities granted to the guardian and all their duties pursuant to the provisions of the law no. 67 of 1983, and the civil law, as long as they do not contradict with the provisions of the Islamic Sharia. If such laws do not contain a text applicable for the concerned case, the provisions of the Sharia shall apply.
Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS):
This unique project in the Arab world was established pursuant to the initiation of the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al-Sabah when he was yet the Crown Prince, with the support and participation of the Chamber of Commerce.
KFAS (a private foundation of public interest) was established pursuant to the Amiri decree issued on 21 Dhul Hejja 1396, corresponding to the 12 December 1976.
KFAS is managed by a board of directors chaired by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait and includes six members elected by Kuwait joint stock companies for the term of three years. The general objective of KFAS is to provide support for scientific and cultural advancement.
Sabah Al-Ahmed Center for Talented and Creative:
In its meeting held on 9 February 2009, under the chairmanship of H.H. the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, KFAS Board of Directors approved the initiation of His Highness for establishing Sabah Al-Ahmed Center for Talented and Creative. The centre includes a number of creative activities, innovations and inventions, in addition to developing technical skills, activities of young scientists, and providing care to the distinguished, talented and creative people in all fields.
Future Generations’ Reserve:
On 28 November 1976 an Amiri decree was issued concerning the reserve for future generations by opening a special account for reserve of the oil fortune composed of 50% of the general reserve of the country in the first year, and to be annually funded by deducting 10% of the general revenues of the country as of the fiscal year 1976-1977. Such monies are to be re-invested in the same account. The Public Investment Authority shall be responsible for reinvestment of the account monies on behalf of the government, in different internal and external projects.
The future generations’ reserve is the source upon which the government count in covering any economic crises the State may encounter, till the correction of the economic structure of the State.
Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED):
Kuwait’s conscience was always alert to the suffering and agony of developing countries. Decades ago, and even before the discovery of oil, Kuwait always understood the feeling of countries in need and worked hard on solving development issues. Despite the State of Kuwait considers itself one of the developing countries, it never hesitated to deduct a considerable part of its national income to help other countries. Based on this principle, it established the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to be the first official Kuwaiti channel for providing help and support for developing countries and assisting them in performing their development programs.The foundation of the fund was announced in December 1961 to be the first development organization in the Middle East founded by the State of Kuwait directly after its independence for providing development assistance for Arab developing countries. The idea of establishing the fund was proposed by the H.H. the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah when he was still the Minister of Finance at that time. The establishment of KFAED at that early time was a manifestation of understanding the reality of the development crisis confronted by the third world, and that the State of Kuwait, despite its small size, is concerned with putting part of its income in service of development and assisting developing countries to develop their economies, particularly via providing them with loans and necessary technical aid for financing the execution of development programs therein based on sound technical and economic basis to guarantee the subject of financed projects, and grant the benefiting countries the highest possible economic and social benefits.
In July 1974, the activities of the fund were decided to be expanded to cover all developing countries, and therefore its capital was increased from K.D. 200 million to K.D. 1000 million. In March of 1981, the capital was doubled to reach K.D. 2000 million.
There is no doubt that KFAED succeeded in materializing its objectives and actively participated in building the internationally good reputation of the State of Kuwait in the field of economic development and humanitarian aid. This positively reflected on fostering the ties between the State of Kuwait and the countries receiving such aids, and duly on the stance of such countries toward Kuwait in international forums.
Sabah Al-Ahmed Naval City:
This project is considered to be one of the leading experiences in the history of the State of Kuwait as the first integrated city to be fully established by the private sector. The center of the city shall include a group of diversified services. Educational services for example shall host branches for the Public Authority for Applied Education, Kuwait University and private colleges with the total area of 72.60 hectares. Health services shall include a public hospital, a specialized health centre and medical clinics on the total area of 17.33 hectares. Religious services in the city shall be served through Sabah Al-Ahmed Islamic Centre including a mosque capacitating 20000 persons, in addition to a library, a celebration hall, a center for family development, a center for the Holy Quran, Hadith, and an Amiri suite for religious celebrations and occasions, on the total value of 19.92 hectares.
Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad’s Hospital:
This hospital is one of the most important projects being executed to carry the name of the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. After completion, it will become the largest medical center in the State of Kuwait to provide medical services to South Surrah and its surroundings whose population amount to about 600k.
The design of the Jaber Al-Ahmed Hospital was meant to be elegant to express his superior position in the society. It was also noted that the building be of a visually unique appearance to add value to its surrounding residential areas.
The hospital includes four buildings, with the total area of 469370 square meters, providing all types of medical services and the latest medical equipment and devices. The hospital encompasses 36 small and large operation rooms, four cardiac catheterization laboratories, four labs for magnetic resonance imaging, and the largest center for injuries in the Middle East.
The hospital further includes meeting rooms that can be used for holding seminars and conferences in different scientific activities. It also provides a crescent shaped 30 meters long medical market for selling general medical staff, located between the patients’ area and the medical facilities.
The State of Kuwait is keen that Jaber Al-Ahmed Hospital provides high standard medical services to the residents of the area. It will provide a comprehensive treatment program meant to enhance health and well being of the current and future generations in the State of Kuwait.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021