Home Privacy About us E-Mail

Travel Info


Quick Facts
CapitalKuwait
Governmentnominal constitutional monarchy
CurrencyKuwaiti dinar (KD)
Areatotal: 17,820 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 17,820 sq km
Population2,111,561
note: includes 1,159,913 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
LanguageArabic (official), English widely spoken
ReligionMuslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%

Kuwait is a country in the Middle East. It is located at the head of the Persian Gulf, with Iraq north and west and Saudi Arabia to the southwest.

Regions

Administrative divisions 
5 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al Farwaniyah, Al 'Asimah, Al Jahra', Hawalli

Cities

Capital 
Kuwait
Ports and harbors 
Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Kuwait, Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi, Mina' Su'ud


Understand

Climate

Dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters. Natural hazards : sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April; they bring heavy rain which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year, but are most common between March and August.

Terrain

Flat to slightly undulating desert plain.

Highest point 
unnamed location 306 m

History

The Kuwaitis trace their roots to the Al-Anisa and the Al-Utub tribe from the Najd province, in modern Saudi Arabia. They moved to Qatar and then to Al-Qurain (derived from Koot, the Arabic word for fortress), which is in modern day Kuwait bay around 1710. By 1752, the long term residents of Al-Qurain decided that the instability of the region, caused by warring tribes, called for the establishment of a stable government. The Al-Sabah tribe was chosen to rule, and the first Sheikh was Sabah ibn Jaber, who ruled as Sabah I, from 1752 to 1756. The Sabah's were skillful diplomats, and weathered out religious and tribal strifes successfully. They dealt with the Ottomans, the Egyptians and the Europeans. Mubarak I signed an agreement with the British making Kuwait a British Protectorate in 1899. The British were in Kuwait for quite a while by then, and as early as the 1770's Abdullah I had a contract with the British to deliver mail for them up to Allepo in Syria. The agreement gave the British control of the Kuwaiti foreign policy in exchange for military protection. In the 20's and the 30's, the chief source of revenue was pearls. But around that time the Japanese started flooding the international market with cultured pearls and this source of income was in decline. In 1938, oil was first struck at the Burgan oil field in Kuwait, and by 1946, they started exporting it. In 1961, Kuwait nullified the treaty of 1899, and became an independent nation. It is currently ruled by Sheik Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah after the demise of Sheikh Jaber al Ahmed al Jaber al Sabah in Jaunary of 2005.

National holiday 
National Day, 25 February (1950)
Independence 
19 June 1961 (from UK)
Constitution 
approved and promulgated 11 November 1962

Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that completely liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91.

Get in

By plane

Kuwait International Airport (http://www.q8airport.com/home.html) is well connected to almost all the important world airports. All the major airlines have stops here, barring Al El.

By train

Kuwait has no railway system.

By car

Kuwait shares it's borders with only 2 nations - Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The political situation in Iraq is volatile currently, so it's advisable not to use that route.

By bus

By boat

Scheduled ferries to and from Iran.

Get around

-->

Talk

Languages 
Arabic (official), English widely spoken

Buy

Western style malls: Souk Sharq (Kuwait City) and Marina Mall (Salmia) are both on the coastal Gulf Road and offer excellent shopping. Traditional markets: A famous destination is the Souk Al Mubarakia in the heart of downtown. Middle Eastern and Oriental items abound as well as a gold and jewellery market.

Eat

Eating in Kuwait is very easy and plentiful. They are many locations to get a meal, from the hole in the wall places serving shawarma and falafel, to your McDonalds, Chilis, Hard Rock Cafe etc.

Eating food in Kuwait is safe, but as always its up to your standards. If you don't feel comfy eating it, then don't.

One thing Kuwait is known for is its fish. So it is advised to visit a fish restaurant.


Mais AlGhanim: This is a traditional Lebanese restaurant located across from the famous Kuwait towers. Locals dine here frequently and it is also a definite favorite to most tourists. Although the food is amazing, it can get quite busy at times so make sure to call ahead.

Address: Arabian Gulf St, Dasman, Kuwait

Telephone Number (965) 2460456/ 2422091


The Al-Boom: The Al-Boom is a fantastic restaurant affiliated with the Radisson SAS Hotel. Diners enjoy their dining experience aboard an authentic wooden dhow. The menu contains a variety of options and the quality of the meals offered is incredible.

http://kuwait.radissonsas.com/rsas_link/en/kwizh/rsasHotelArticle/1053502924836.html

Address: Al Bida Al Tawoun Street, Salwa, Kuwait 13122 Telephone Number: (965) 575-6000

Drink

Numi Tea House

This is not a typical tea house! It is reasonably priced yet offers so much more than you would expect. There are several varieties of herbal teas to choose from and the menu is quite large. The atmosphere is quite cozy although the tea house itself is larger and beautifully decorated with contemporary style furniture.

Address: Salem Al Mubarak Street, Salmiya, Kuwait

Telephone Number: (965) 5725870

Sleep

The Radisson SAS Hotel in Kuwait:

This five star beachfront hotel is only a few minutes away from the center of Kuwait city and major shopping areas. There is a large selection of business, recreational and leisure facilities, wide range of recreational activities. There are also amazing restaurants to choose from as well as a convenient free city shuttle service.

stub and needs your attention. Plunge forward and help it grow!



Geography

Geographic coordinates 
29 30 N, 45 45 E
Area 
total: 17,820 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 17,820 sq km
Area - comparative 
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Coastline 
499 km
Maritime claims 
territorial sea: 12 NM
Natural resources 
petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
Land use 
arable land: 0.34%
permanent crops: 0.06%
other: 99.6% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
60 sq km (1998 est.)
Environment - current issues 
limited natural fresh water resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping

People

Population 
2,111,561
note: includes 1,159,913 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 28.3% (male 304,200; female 292,900)
15-64 years: 69.2% (male 934,115; female 527,331)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 34,106; female 18,909) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
3.33%
note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
21.84 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
2.46 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
13.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.77 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.52 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
10.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 76.46 years
male: 75.56 years
female: 77.39 years (2002 est.)
Total fertility rate 
3.14 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
0.12% (1999 est.)
Nationality 
noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti
Ethnic groups 
Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
Religions 
Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
Literacy 
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.6%
male: 82.2%
female: 74.9% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name 
conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local short form: Al Kuwayt
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
Government type 
nominal constitutional monarchy
Legal system 
civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage 
adult males who have been naturalized for 30 years or more or have resided in Kuwait since before 1920 and their male descendants at age 21
note: only 10% of all citizens are eligible to vote; in 1996, naturalized citizens who do not meet the pre-1920 qualification but have been naturalized for 30 years were eligible to vote for the first time
Executive branch 
chief of state: Amir JABIR al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 31 December 1977)
head of government: Prime Minister and Crown Prince SAAD al-Abdallah al-Salim Al Sabah (since 8 February 1978); First Deputy Prime Minister SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 17 October 1992); Deputy Prime Ministers JABIR MUBARAK al-Hamud Al Sabah (since NA) and MUHAMMAD KHALID al-Hamed Al Sabah (since NA)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch 
unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 3 July 1999 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 50; note - all cabinet ministers are also ex officio members of the National Assembly
Judicial branch 
High Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders 
none; formation of political parties is illegal
Political pressure groups and leaders 
several political groups act as de facto parties: Bedouins, merchants, Sunni and Shi'a activists, and secular leftists and nationalists
International organization participation 
ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber AL SABAH
FAX: [1] (202) 966-0517
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard H. JONES
embassy: Bayan, Area 14, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City
mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat, 13001 Safat, Kuwait Unit 69000, APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 539-5307, ext. 2240
FAX: [965] 538-0282
Flag description 
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side

Economy

Economy - overview 
Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with proved crude oil reserves of 94 billion barrels - 10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 90% of export revenues, and 75% of government income. Kuwait's climate limits agricultural development. Consequently, with the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported. Higher oil prices put the FY99/00 budget into a $2 billion surplus. The FY00/01 budget covers only nine months because of a change in the fiscal year. The budget for FY01/02 envisioned higher expenditures for salaries, construction, and other general categories. Kuwait continues its discussions with foreign oil companies to develop fields in the northern part of the country.
GDP 
purchasing power parity - $30.9 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $15,100 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
industry: 60%
services: 40%
agriculture: 0% (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
2.7% (2001)
Labor force 
1.3 million
note: 68% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.) (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate 
1.8% (1996 est.)
Budget 
revenues: $11.5 billion
expenditures: $17.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY01/02 )
Industries 
petroleum, petrochemicals, desalination, food processing, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate 
1% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production 
31.2 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 100%
Electricity - consumption 
29.016 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
practically no crops; fish
Exports 
$16.2 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities 
oil and refined products, fertilizers
Exports - partners 
Japan 23%, US 14%, South Korea 13%, Singapore 7%, Netherlands 6%, Pakistan 6%, Indonesia 4%, UK 2% (2000)
Imports 
$7.4 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities 
food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
Imports - partners 
US 12%, Japan 8%, UK 8%, Germany 7%, China 5%, France 4%, Australia 3%, Netherlands 2% (2000)
Debt - external 
$6.9 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient 
NA
Currency 
Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
Currency code 
KWD
Exchange rates 
Kuwaiti dinars per US dollar - 0.3075 (January 2002), 0.3066, (2001), 0.3067 (2000), 0.3044 (1999), 0.3047 (1998), 0.3033 (1997)
Fiscal year 
1 April - 31 March

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use 
412,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
210,000 (1997)
Telephone system 
general assessment: the quality of service is excellent
domestic: new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, open wire, and fiber-optic cable; a cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwait, and the country is well supplied with pay telephones
international: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean, 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean), and 2 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 6, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 
1.175 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)
Televisions 
875,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
.kw
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
3 (2000)
Internet users 
200,000 (2002)

Transportation

Highways 
total: 4,450 km
paved: 3,590 km
unpaved: 860 km (1999 est.)
Pipelines 
crude oil 877 km; petroleum products 40 km; natural gas 165 km
Merchant marine 
total: 38 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,274,515 GRT/3,627,835 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 1, container 6, liquefied gas 6, livestock carrier 5, petroleum tanker 19
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Monaco 1, Saudi Arabia 1 (2002 est.)
Airports 
7 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
Heliports 
3 (2002)

Military

Military branches 
Army, Navy, Air Force (including Air Defense Force), National Police Force, National Guard, Coast Guard
Military manpower - military age 
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability 
males age 15-49: 812,059 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service 
males age 15-49: 486,906 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually 
males: 18,309 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$1,967.3 million (FY01)
note: Kuwait is changing its fiscal year; the above figure is for July-March 2001; future budget years will be April-March annually
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
5.5% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
in November 1994, Iraq formally accepted the UN-demarcated border with Kuwait which had been spelled out in Security Council Resolutions 687 (1991), 773 (1993), and 883 (1993); this formally ends earlier claims to Kuwait and to Bubiyan and Warbah islands, although the Iraqi Government continues periodic rhetorical challenges