The Business Year

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KUWAIT - Economy

Abdullah AlNabhan

Middle East Regional Director/Partner, Palladium

Bio

Abdullah Alnabhan is the Middle East Regional Director/Partner for Palladium, CEO of Kuwait ,CEO of Saudi Arabia, and UAE Country Director for Palladium. He has over 20 years of implementing strategic planning and excellence across the world, overseeing all of Palladium’s operations in the Middle East. He has also served as part of the judging committee for Dubai Live Expo 2020 Grant Programme. He has also been involved designing and implementing strategic programs and initiatives across various sectors in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Canada, the US, and the UK. He is also a researcher , specialized expert, active writer, and active speaker in global and regional summits and events tackling the world’s most prominent topics including social development, economic growth, Government Competitiveness, and impact investments, among other relevant topics.

"The estimates are only based on the current energy prices but given that the bulk of our economy relies on energy sources, this budget could have a great impact on accelerating national diversification plans."

Abdullah AlNabhan talks to TBY about the impact of increased energy prices in Kuwait and expectations for 2023.

What has been Palladium’s experience since our last interview in 2019?

Abdullah AlNabhan: Over the past few years, we’ve worked to tackle various challenges in Kuwait. First, we focused on the pandemic and ensuring that both the public and private sector survived its impact. We also dedicated ourselves to creating recovery plans, showing companies and organizations how to return to work safely and make the most of the new, remote working model. And for the past eight months, we’ve largely focused on growing the renewable energy market and improving social development, agriculture, and health. This is where we see the hope of the future.

What was the impact of the 2019 Positive Impact Summit and what changes have you seen since then?

Abdullah AlNabhan: Our mission hasn’t changed; the summit theme was “Impact at Scale”, with a strong focus on inclusive growth, and we certainly still believe that tackling the environmental crisis is a global issue. It is not up to one country or one sector of the economy to solve this problem, which is why our framework of activity focuses on bringing the private and public sector and communities together to address these challenges. Since then, we have been working on multiple priorities and helped numerous parties to align their vision with sustainable goals. I think Kuwait can benefit tremendously from these developments and plans. Because it’s a relatively small country in size with one of the highest GDP per capita figures in the world, there’s room for the government and private sector to implement changes swiftly and effectively. Moreover, growing energy prices offer Kuwait a great increase in expendable income for the coming years.

What could be done with such a surplus and what would you want the state to execute with this additional funding?

Abdullah AlNabhan: Of course, the estimates are only based on the current energy prices but given that the bulk of our economy relies on energy sources, this budget could have a great impact on accelerating national diversification plans. These funds could be directed towards investments in infrastructure that would make the country more competitive in alternative energy sources, renewable solutions, and innovation. It is a great opportunity that we may not see again for another decade, so it’s imperative to leverage it to positively impact the country’s ecosystem while we have the means to do so.

What areas of Palladium’s expertise are currently helping the Kuwaiti market and the MENA region?

Abdullah AlNabhan: No matter where we’re working, our goal is to solve the world’s most complex challenges. Our business model is focused on creating a positive impact, which is how we measure our success. We usually start with a large-scale program management project, within which we design frameworks and policy reforms. We start by taking a broad approach and break it down into smaller more actionable pieces and projects. We are running these projects across the whole region, and across several sectors, including agriculture, social development, and health among others. At the moment, there are over 30 such schemes being realized in the region. So, our work varies dramatically by sector and location. We aren’t your typical consultancy firm, but a solutions-oriented expert with a wide range of services.

What are Palladium’s expectations and priorities for 2023?

Abdullah AlNabhan: In Kuwait, we will focus heavily on the renewable energy sector, government modernization, and competitive improvement. We anticipate an increase in direct investment in Kuwait, which will expedite the process. I believe this will be a year of particularly significant growth and I hope we can help to make a positive change. In addition, the government will be spending more on various projects to improve the national condition. We intend to be there and available to support both the public and private sector in taking advantage of and making the most of these improvements. Over the coming months, we will be expanding our team to help the State of Kuwait to accelerate toward a better, more sustainable future.

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