CEOs in Kuwait optimistic despite risk of recession

By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: KPMG Kuwait held a press conference on Monday to launch the Kuwait CEO Outlook report for the year 2022-2023 titled ‘Turning the Tide’, in the presence of Managing Partner at KPMG Kuwait Rasheed Al-Qenae and members of the senior management team. The KPMG Kuwait CEO Outlook report indicates seven in 10 CEOs discount the possibility of a globally anticipated recession in the country. It also shows CEOs are not only confident in terms of Kuwait’s growth prospects, but also feel more resilient with regards to the global economy compared to 2021.

Managing Partner at KPMG Kuwait Rasheed Al-Qenae.

The report shows that when CEOs in Kuwait are looking past recent economic slowdowns, they look optimistically towards achieving structural growth during the next three years (2022-2025). The KPMG Kuwait CEO Outlook 2022–23 report focuses on four primary themes — economic outlook, technology, talent and ESG (environment, social and governance), while it highlights a great discrepancy between some global trends and current trends in Kuwait. Qenae said the past recent years have brought significant problems and pressures, where companies had to be flexible in dealing with challenges and steadfast in the path to continue with the same approach due to the continuous waves of crises and the state of instability that the world witnessed.

“This year’s report is not just a set of numbers, but an expression of the strength and courage of CEOs in exploring opportunities despite the state of uncertainty, which was evident in the results,” he pointed out. Qenae stressed digital transformation has become an essential step for companies to follow up rapid global development in new technologies and performance. He pointed out cybersecurity during the pandemic developed greatly in Kuwait due to the rise in investments, which is still of great interest to the financial and telecommunications sectors.

Qenae mentioned that due to the great interest for cybersecurity in Kuwait, the country is considering taking steps towards building a big cybersecurity unit. The report included surveys and interviews of CEOs of five Kuwaiti companies — Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at KIB Raed Jawad Bukhamseen, Chief Executive Officer at STC Maziad Al-Harbi, Chief Executive Officer at Markaz Ali H Khalil, Group Chief Financial Officer at Fouad Alghanim Group S N Ramachandran and Vice Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer at United Real Estate Co Mazen Hawwa.

The results indicated that more than 70 percent of CEOs polled believe the Kuwaiti economy is unlikely to face a recession in the near future. However, they do not diminish the fact that a potential event would in fact affect earnings and slow down the post-pandemic recovery process. The results also highlighted that CEOs are putting more capital towards acquiring new technology to stay competent.

The report points out that despite economic uncertainties, CEOs are still hopeful for M&A driven growth. On the other hand, the report underlined that when it comes to ESG, the biggest downside of failing to meet stakeholder expectations is higher cost of and/or difficulty in raising finance. Although sustainability is yet to pick up speed in Kuwait, the burden falls on major industries to drive the change.

The post CEOs in Kuwait optimistic despite risk of recession appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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